Behavioral Statistics 3301

Candace Perks

This article discusses suicide and is actually a response to a Los Angeles Times article with the headline, “Jump In Youth Suicides Reverses Trend.” According to this author, it reports a jump of 76% in suicides of girls ages ten to fourteen and states that the overall suicide rate for people 10-24 increased at an alarming rate, as much as 8%. (Steinheimer, 2007) Visually, these numbers can sound alarming and causes the viewer to gasp at such a spike among young kids. Seventy-six percent seems like a huge spike, however, this article points out that these statistics represents the difference between 56 suicides in 2003 to 94 in 2004, out of a population of nearly ten million girls. While the numerical figure of 76% seems like a huge jump, when plotted on a graph it puts it into perspective that it is not as dramatic as it sounds. The graph gives a visual and numerical representation of the increase in number of girls committing suicide within that year, which only adds up to 38 more girls. The statics given in the article is a frequency distribution with the number of suicides being a discreet variable. In the primary article 76% is an alarming number but when you see it happening among a population of ten million girls, it is not the huge spike that the previous article declares. (Steinheimer, 2007) The author of this rebuttal article explains a very important element to this data that changes the reader’s perception of what is being said and how it is plotted on the graph. This game changer is “among ten million of a population of girls.” Solely focusing on a number like 76%, or a jump of 8% in a given period seems very much like a scare tactics as compared with the carefully crafted response by the author in her demonstration of statistics and the numbers. At no point does the author try to pad the meaning of the numbers, but instead, picks it apart despite the seemingly callous way it might sound. After all, when bringing such a grandiose number of 76% down…