Rock musician Kurt Cobain's suicide last spring attracted a lot of media attention. Did the singer-guitarist's death, and the flood of publicity surrounding it, trigger a wave of imitative behavior among young people, including those who identified with his songs of alienation and cynicism?
Preliminary results of a study of suicide rates in Seattle and two control cities 45 days before, and 45 days after, Cobain's death indicate no correlation.
"An initial look at the data appears to show no significant effect in terms of 'copycat' suicides," Alan Berman, executive director of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS)in Washington, D.C., said. "There were anecdotes and individual cases, but no rash or cluster of suicides. You would expect to see that effect, particularly in Seattle, where the publicity was greatest."