Framing Messages for Suicide Gatekeepers through Theory of Planned Behavior


  • Megan Cox University of Central Oklahoma



The rate of suicide among people in the United States is high among those ages 15 through 34. People in this age range are active online, and therefore, social media platforms give health communicators a method for reaching them with messages intended for suicide intervention. This paper proposes a framework for the construction of social media messages designed to influence behavioral intention and motivate action by suicide gatekeepers (those aware of a peer’s suicide ideation). The framework is conceptualized through the lens of the theory of planned behavior and its determinants of behavioral intention—attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control. Three concepts are provided that may influence each of the determinants: framing with interdependence, emphasizing reciprocal relationships, and using empowering language.