The influence of music-based subcultures on suicidality has been the subject of much debate but little scholarly research. While previous work has documented that suicide is a remarkably frequent cause of death in opera, it has not explored the related consequences on opera’s audience. In particular, the possible influence of the opera subculture on suicide acceptability has been largely unexplored. Suicide in the case of life without honor, the “Madame Butterfly Effect,” is a theme in opera. Persons who are drawn into and/or influenced by the opera subculture of honor are hypothesized to be more accepting of suicide in the case of dishonor to one’s family. Data are from the national general social surveys (N = 845). A multivariate logistic regression analysis finds that opera fans are 2.37 times more accepting of suicide because of dishonor than nonfans. Only two variables, religiosity and education, are more closely related to suicide acceptability than opera fanship. These are the first empirical results on the subject of opera and suicide acceptability.
Source: “Opera subculture and suicide for honor.” from Death Studies. 2002 Jun;26(5):431-7.
Join 25K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.