Sebastian Scherr

Communication Science

Visiting Assistant Professor

Professor Sebastian Scherr


  • Individual and structural susceptibility factors for media effects in the domains of health and political communication
  • Media and suicide prevention
  • Qualitative, quantitative, and computational methods of communication research


Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (online first). Investigating an issue–attention–action cycle: A case study on the chronology of media attention, public attention, and actual vaccination behavior during the 2019 measles outbreak in Austria. Journal of Health Communication. doi:10.1080/10810730.2019.1652709

Bartsch, A., Scherr, S., Mares, M.-L., & Oliver, M. B. (online first). Reflective thoughts about violent media content – development of a bilingual self-report scale in English and German. Media Psychology. doi:10.1080/15213269.2019.1647248

Arendt, F., Scherr, S., & Romer, D. (online first). Effects of exposure to self-harm on social media: Evidence from a two-wave panel study among young adults. New Media and Society. doi:10.1177/1461444819850106

Scherr, S., & Goering, M. (online first). Is a self-monitoring app for depression a good place for additional mental health information? Ecological momentary assessment of mental help information seeking among smartphone users. Health Communication. doi:10.1080/10410236.2019.1606135

Arendt, F., Scherr, S., Pasek, J., Jamieson, P., & Romer, D. (online first). Investigating harmful and helpful effects of watching season 2 of 13 Reasons Why: Results of a two-wave U.S. panel survey. Social Science and Medicine. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.04.007

Scherr, S., Arendt, F., Frissen, T., & Oramas, J. (online first). Detecting intentional self-harm on Instagram: Development, testing, and validation of an automatic image-recognition algorithm to discover cutting-related posts. Social Science Computer Review. doi:10.1177/0894439319836389

Scherr, S., Markiewitz, A., & Arendt, F. (online first). Evaluation of a workshop intervention on responsible reporting on suicide among Swiss media professionals. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000584

Scherr, S. (online first). Traditional media use and depression in the general population: Evidence for a non-linear relationship. Current Psychology. doi:10.1007/s12144-018-0020-7

Scherr, S., Toma, C., & Schuster, B. (online first). Depression as a predictor of Facebook surveillance and envy? Evidence from a cross-lagged panel study in Germany. Journal of Media Psychology. doi:10.1027/1864-1105/a000247

Scherr, S., Bachl, M., & De Vreese, C. (2019). Searching for watchdogs: Investigating journalistic role performance using latent-class analysis. Journalism Studies, 20(11), 1635-1652. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2018.1533417

Scherr, S., Haim, M., & Arendt, F. (2019). Equal access to online information? Google’s suicide-prevention disparities may amplify a global digital divide. New Media and Society, 21(3), 562–582. doi:1177/1461444818801010

Till, B., Arendt, F., Scherr, S., & Niederkrotenthaler, T. (2019). Effect of educative suicide-prevention newspaper articles featuring experts with vs without personal experience of suicidal ideation: A randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 80(1), 17m11975. doi:10.4088/JCP.17m11975

Baugut, P., & Scherr, S. (2019). Should the media be more or less powerful in politics? Individual and contextual explanations for politicians and journalists. Political Communication, 36(1), 127–148. doi:10.1080/10584609.2018.1517844

Scherr, S., & Schuster, B. (2019). Depression und die Nutzung von Social Network Sites (SNS): Differentielle Einflüsse von Selbstwirksamkeit auf die passive Nutzung von SNS und die Entstehung von Neid [Depression and social network site use: Differential impact of self-efficacy on passive use and envy]. Medien Journal, 42(3), 25–44. doi: 24989/medienjournal.v42i3.1743.

Scherr, S., Mares, M.-L., Bartsch, A., & Götz, M. (2019). Children’s emotion expressions, their parents, and their television: A cross-cultural multilevel-model. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50(1), 22–46. doi:10.1177/0022022118806585

Till, B., Wild, T. A., Arendt, F., Scherr, S., & Niederkrotenthaler, T. (2018). Associations of tabloid newspaper use with endorsement of suicide myths, suicide-related knowledge, and stigmatizing attitudes toward suicidal individuals. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 39(6), 428–437. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000516

Arendt, F., Scherr, S., Niederkrotenthaler, T., & Till, B. (2018). The role of language in suicide reporting: Investigating the influence of problematic suicide referents. Social Science and Medicine, 208, 165- doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.02.008

Bartsch, A., Oliver, M. B., Nitsch, C., & Scherr, S. (2018). Inspired by the Paralympics: Effects of empathy on audience interest in para-sports and on the destigmatization of persons with disabilities. Communication Research, 45(4), 525–553. doi:10.1177/0093650215626984

Arendt, F., Scherr, S., Niederkrotenthaler, T., Krallmann, S., & Till, B. (2018). Effects of awareness material on suicide-related knowledge and the intention to provide adequate help to suicidal individuals. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 39(1), 47–54. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000474

Scherr, S., Mares, M.-L., Bartsch, A., & Götz, M. (2018). Parents and TV as socializers of 6-19 year olds’ expressions of emotion: Representative data from Germany. Journal of Children and Media, 12(1), 33–50. doi:10.1080/17482798.2017.1365738

Götz, M., Hofmann, O., Mendel, C., Lemish, D., Scherr, S., Gozansky, Y., … Whitaker, L. (2018). Whose story is being told? Results of an analysis of children’s TV in 8 countries. Televizion, 31, p. 61–65.

Scherr, S., & Schmitt, M. (2018). Passive Facebook-Nutzung, selektive Selbstdarstellung und negative Wahrnehmungen des eigenen Lebens: Mehrgruppen Cross-Lagged Panelanalysen zu differentiellen Effekten im Kontext psychologischen Wohlbefindens [Passive Facebook use, selective self-presentation and negative perceptions of life in the context of mental well-being: A multigroup cross-lagged panel analysis on differential Facebook use]. Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, 66(1), 58–74. doi:10.5771/1615-634X-2018-1-58

Scherr, S., Arendt, F., & Schäfer, M. (2017). Supporting reporting: On the positive effects of text- and video-based awareness material on responsible journalistic suicide news writing. Archives of Suicide Research, 21(4), 646–658. doi:10.1080/13811118.2016.1222975

Arendt, F., Scherr, S., Till, B., Prinzellner, Y., Hines, K., & Niederkrothentaler, T. (2017). Suicide on TV: Minimising the risk to vulnerable viewers. The BMJ, 358, j3876. doi:1136/bmj.j3876

Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2017). Optimizing online suicide prevention: A search engine-based tailored approach. Health Communication, 32(11), 1403– doi:10.1080/10410236.2016.1224451

Baugut, P., & Scherr, S. (2017). Who justifies questionable reporting practices? Answers from a representative survey of journalists in Germany. Global Media Journal, 7(1), 1–15.

Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2017). The impact of a highly publicized celebrity suicide on suicide-related online information seeking. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 38(3), 207–209. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000455

Scherr, S., & Müller, P. (2017). How perceived persuasive intent and reactance contribute to third-person perceptions: Evidence from two experiments. Mass Communication and Society, 20(3), 315–335. doi:10.1080/15205436.2016.1250911

Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2017). A qualitative study on health practitioners’ subjective theories regarding the media effects on depression-related outcomes. Suicidology Online, 8, 78–88.

Scherr, S., & Brunet, A. (2017). Differential Influences of Depression and Personality Traits on the Use of Facebook. Social Media and Society, 3(1), 1–14. doi:10.1177/2056305117698495

Müller, P., & Scherr, S. (2017). Reducing the bias: How perspective-taking affects first- and third-person perceptions of media influence. Communication Research Reports, 34(2), 134–142. doi:10.1080/08824096.2017.1280453

Haim, M., Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2017). Abyss or shelter? On the relevance of web search engines’ search results when people google for suicide. Health Communication, 32(2), 253–258. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2015.1113484

Leiner, D., Scherr, S., & Bartsch, A. (2016). Using open source tools to measure online selective exposure in naturalistic settings. Communication Methods and Measures, 10(4), 199–216. doi:10.1080/19312458.2016.1224825

Bartsch, A., Mares, M.-L., Scherr, S., Kloß, A., Keppeler, J., & Posthumus, L. (2016). More than shoot-em-up and torture porn: Reflective appropriation and meaning-making of violent media content. Journal of Communication, 66(5), 741–765. doi:10.1111/jcom.12248

Scherr, S., & Reinemann, C. (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. Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 80–88. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.03.009

Brunet, A., & Scherr, S. (2016). Facebook-Nutzung in Abhängigkeit depressiver Tendenzen [Influence of depressive symptoms on the use of Facebook]. Studies in Communication and Media, 5(1), 74–104. doi:10.5771/2192-4007-2016-1-74

Scherr, S., & Baugut, P. (2016). The meaning of leaning: The impact of journalists’ political leaning on active role perception and satisfaction with audiences and editorial policy. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 93(1), 142–163. doi: 10.1177/1077699015606678

Scherr, S., Reinemann, C., & Jandura, O. (2015). Dynamic success on YouTube: A longitudinal analysis of click counts and contents of political candidate clips during the 2009 German national election. German Politics, 24(4), 491–506. doi:10.1080/09644008.2015.1024237

Scherr, S., & Steinleitner, A. (2015). Zwischen dem Werther- und Papageno-Effekt [Between Werther and Papageno effects]. Der Nervenarzt, 86, 557–565. doi:10.1007/s00115-015-4260-6

Scherr, S., & Steinleitner, A. (2015). Zwischen Werther und Papageno [Reprint of Between Werther and Papageno effects published in Der Nervenarzt]. Ärzte Woche, 29(49), 4–5. [reprint of Der Nervenarzt, 86, 557–565]

Scherr, S. (2015). Depression and the media: A change in media perception can change minds [eLetter]. The British Journal of Psychiatry. doi: 10.1192/bjp.190.1.81a

Scherr, S., & Reinemann, C. (2014). EPA-0404 – Correlation and causality between the use of online health forums and suicidality: Evidence from a German representative survey and a large-scale online panel survey. European Psychiatry, 29(S1). doi:10.1016/S0924-9338(14)77826-5

Scherr, S., & Steinleitner, A. (2014). EPA-0502 – A systematic analysis of all studies that ambiguously prove copycat suicides after media coverage of suicide. European Psychiatry, 29(S1). doi:10.1016/S0924-9338(14)77906-4

Engesser, S., Esser, F., Reinemann, C., Scherr, S., Matthes, J., & Wonneberger, A. (2014). Negativität in der Politikberichterstattung: Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz im Vergleich [Negativity in the news: Cross-country comparisons between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland]. Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, 62(4), 588–605.

Baugut, P., & Scherr, S. (2013). Der Einfluss politischer Einstellungen auf Rollenverständnis und Arbeitszufriedenheit von Journalisten [Influences of political leaning on the journalistic role conception and job satifaction]. Studies in Communication and Media, 2(4), 437–468.

Scherr, S. (2013). Medien und Suizide: Überblick über die kommunikationswissenschaftliche Forschung zum Werther-Effekt [Media and suicide: Review of communication research on the Werther effect]. Suizidprophylaxe, 40(3), 96–107.

Scherr, S., Müller, P., & Fast, V. (2013). Do third-person perceptions amplify exemplification effects? International Journal of Communication, 7, 1603–1621.

Scherr, S., Müller, P., & Fast, V. (2013). Single comments or average ratings: Which elements of™ shape university students’ judgments and course choice intentions? Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 25(2), 131–141. doi:10.1007/s11092-013-9164-z

Reinemann, C., Stanyer, J., Scherr, S., & Legnante, G. (2012). Hard and soft news: A review of concepts, operationalizations and key findings. Journalism, 13(2), 221–239. doi:10.1177/1464884911427803

Scherr, S., & Reinemann, C. (2011). Belief in a Werther effect: Third-person effects in the perceptions of suicide risk for others and the moderating role of depression. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 41(6), 624–634. doi:10.1111/j.1943-278X.2011.00059.x

Reinemann, C., & Scherr, S. (2011). Der Werther-Defekt. Plädoyer für einen neuen Blick auf den Zusammenhang von suizidalem Verhalten und Medien [The Werther defect: Plea for a new look on the relationship between suicidal behaviors and the media]. Publizistik, 56(1), 89–94. doi:10.1007/s11616-010-0109-y

Götz, M., Hofmann, O., Brosius, H.-B., Carter, C., Chan, K., … Scherr, S., et al. (2008). Gender in children’s television worldwide: Results from a media analysis in 24 countries. Televizion, 21, 4–9.