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Scherr, Sebastian and Reinemann, Carsten (2016): First do no harm: Cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence for the impact of individual suicidality on the use of online health forums and support groups. In: Computers in Human Behavior, Vol. 61: pp. 80-88

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Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide, especially among the young. This study aims to disentangle the presumed causality between the use of online health forums or support groups and suicidality using a representative telephone survey and a two-wave online panel survey containing the same question wording. Cross-sectional data show positive correlations between suicidality and online health forum use, but not limited to the younger. Using longitudinal panel data and autoregressive models, a positive cross-lagged effect of suicidality on internet-based health forum use one month later was revealed. Despite the wide-spread notion that online health forums can increase suicidality the present study provides evidence for the preventive potential of accessible and helpful information online. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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