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Letter to the Editor: Response to Niederkrontenthaler et al.

Cover of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, October 2023, Volume 53 Issue 5.I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the concerns raised by Niederkrotenthaler et al. regarding my reanalysis of increases in adolescent suicide attributable to the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. I respond to their concerns in general and then point by point.

The writers take issue with my claim that the show’s effects were controversial. The implication is that because several studies found adverse effects of the show it is an open and shut case that the show led to an increase in suicide in adolescents. I take issue with this conclusion because after removing actual long-term trends and auto-correlation in suicide, I found no effect for females and only an apparent deviation from trend in males for the months of March and April corresponding to the month before and after the show’s release (Romer, 2020a). Each step of the analysis was clearly presented and can be replicated with ease. I interpreted the observed deviation as unlikely to be associated with the show’s release because the rise in suicide that occurred in March was almost as strong as the month after. Thus, we have reason to doubt the findings of the first study that proclaimed an effect of the show on adolescent suicide. I respond below to the letter writers’ claim that their study of 13 Reasons was more robust.