Rates of exposure to natural, accidental, and suicide deaths

Michael R. Nadorff, Hilary L. DeShong, Shea Golding, Julie Cerel, Chandler J. McDaniel, Ashley R. Pate, Karen Kelley, Maggie D. Walgren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We expand upon previous research examining the prevalence of exposure to suicide deaths by comparing these to natural and accidental deaths. Furthermore, we examine whether participants are more apt to lie about the cause of death for a suicide than for an accidental or natural death. Method: The sample consisted of 1,430 respondents who were recruited via Amazon's Mechanical Turk to complete an online study. Participants completed measures to assess exposure to death, causes of death, and willingness to disclose the cause of death to others. Results: Nearly all respondents (94.5%) had been exposed to a natural death, and most of our sample (63.2%) reported exposure to a suicide death. Among those affected by all three causes of death, RANOVA analysis also indicated that people lied about cause of suicide death to significantly more people than accidental or natural. Conclusions: Overall, the current study presents updated prevalence rates of exposure to various types of death and replicates previous findings of a decrease in willingness to disclose suicides when compared with other causes of death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-481
Number of pages4
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The American Association of Suicidology.


  • accidental death exposure
  • natural death exposure
  • suicide exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Rates of exposure to natural, accidental, and suicide deaths'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this