McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Shareea Butler

BUtler.JPG

Major and Classification

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

  • Shannon Daley, Ph.D.

Department

  • Psychology

McNair Project

"An Examination of the Coverage of Suicide in Essence Magazine: Discovering the Relationship Between Increased Rates of Suicide in the African American Community and Rates of Coverage in Essence Magazine"

This study examined the frequency and content of Essence Magazine articles containing the word suicide, published between 1988 and 2004. Essence Magazine was selected for this study because of its high circulation and percentage of African American readership. Eighty-one articles from Essence magazine were retrieved, using the Proquest internet database and the index word 'suicide'. The researcher evaluated each article using a seven-point protocol developed specifically for this study. There was no significant increase in the frequency of articles mentioning suicide from 1988 to 2004, despite the increase in African American suicides during this time. In addition, there was no significant change in the content of articles that mentioned suicide. These results suggest media outlets in the African American community do not provide adequate information about suicide awareness, despite the relevance of the issue to the African American community. It is possible that a future partnership between mental health professionals and the media could help raise awareness concerning suicide in the African American community.