Background: The new reality of cybersuicide is challenging ideologies about the traditional form of suicide that does not involve the internet (offline suicide), which may lead to shifts in public attitudes. However, knowledge about the difference in stigmatizing attitudes between cyber suicides and offline suicides remains limited.
Goal: This study aims to consider live suicide as a typical representative of cybersuicide and use social media data (Sina Weibo) to investigate the differences in stigmatizing attitudes between cybersuicides and offline suicides in terms of the types of attitudes and linguistic characteristics.
Methods : A total of 4393 cybersuicide-related Weibo posts and 2843 suicide-related offline posts were collected and analyzed. First, human coders were recruited and trained to perform content analysis on the collected posts to determine whether each reflected stigma. Second, a text analysis tool was used to automatically extract a number of psycholinguistic features from each article. Subsequently, based on the selected characteristics, a series of classification models were constructed for different purposes: to differentiate the general stigma of cybersuicide from that of offline suicide and to differentiate negative stereotypes of cybersuicide from that of offline suicide.
Results: In terms of attitude types, cybersuicide has been observed to be more stigmatized than offline suicide (χ21=179.8; P<.001 between cybersuicides and offline suicides there were significant differences in the proportion of posts associated with five different negative stereotypes including>stupid and superficial (χ21=28.9; P<.001>misrepresentation (χ21=144.4; P<.001>weak and pathetic (χ21=20.4; P<.001>glorified and normalized (χ21=177.6; P<.001 and>immoral (χ21=11.8; P=.001). Similar results were also found for different genders and regions. In terms of linguistic characteristics, F-the measurement values of the classification models ranged from 0.81 to 0.85.
Conclusion : The way people view cyber suicide differs from the way they view offline suicide. The results of this study have implications for reducing the stigma of suicide.