Prof. Dr. Sebastian Scherr

Chair, Professor of Digital Health Communication
Department for Media, Knowledge and Communication
Phone: +49 821 598 5710
Room: 5057 (D)
Visiting hours: upon request
Address: Universitätsstraße 10, 86159 Augsburg

Main Research

  • Media and suicide prevention

  • Media and mental health/well-being

  • Health information seeking

  • (Effects of) presumed media influences

  • Political journalism

Additional Professional Links:

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Most recent publications


  • Wiedicke, A., Reifegerste, D., Temmann, L. J., & Scherr, S. (accepted). Framing depression: Individual, societal, and social network responsibility attributions in media coverage. European Journal of Health Communication.
  • Scherr, S., Arendt, F., & Haim, M. (online first). Algorithms without frontiers? How language-based algorithmic information disparities for suicide crisis information sustain digital divides over time in 17 countries. Information, Communication & Society. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2022.2097017
  • Lueck, J., Callaghan, T., & Scherr, S. (online first). Suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic: Investigating mental health, COVID-19 health beliefs, and news media consumption in the United States population in the year 2020. OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying. doi:10.1177/00302228211062361
  • Scherr, S., Arendt, F., Prieler, M., & Ju, Y. (online first). Investigating the negative-cognitive-triad-hypothesis of news choice in Germany and South Korea: Does depression predict selective exposure to negative news? The Social Science Journal. doi:10.1080/03623319.2020.1859817
  • Chen, Y. A., Fan, T., Toma, C. L., & Scherr, S. (2022). International students’ psychosocial wellbeing and their social media use at the onset of the pandemic: A latent profile analysis. Computers in Human Behavior, 137. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2022.107409
  • Yin, X.-Q., Scherr, S., Jin, L., Gaskin, J., & Wang, J.-L. (2022). Impressions matter more than privacy: The moderating roles of affordances in the relation between social anxiety and online safety-seeking behaviors. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 16(3), Article 1. doi:10.5817/CP2022-3-1.
  • Scherr, S., Reifegerste, D., Arendt, F., van Weert, J., & Alden, D. L. (2022). Family involvement in medical decision making in Europe and the United States: A replication and extension in five countries. Social Science & Medicine, 301. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.114932
  • Scherr, S. (2022). Social media, self-harm, and suicide. Current Opinion in Psychology, 46. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2022.101311
  • Yin, X.-Q., Zhang, X.-X., Scherr, S., & Wang, J.-L. (2022). Browsing makes you feel less bad: An ecological momentary assessment of passive Qzone use and young women’s negative emotions. Psychiatry Research, 309. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2021.114373
  • Baugut, P., & Scherr, S. (2022). The news expectation predicament: Comparing and explaining what audiences expect from the roles and reporting practices of reporters on right-wing extremism. Journalism, 23(5), 973–991. doi:10.1177/1464884921996307
  • Wang, K., & Scherr, S. (2022). Dance the night away: How automatic TikTok use creates pre-sleep cognitive arousal and daytime fatigue. Mobile Media & Communication, 10(2), 316–336. doi:10.1177/20501579211056116
  • Temmann, L. J., Wiedicke, A., Schaller, S., Scherr, S., & Reifegerste, D. (2021). A systematic review of responsibility frames and their effects in the health context. Journal of Health Communication, 26(12), 828–838. doi:10.1080/10810730.2021.2020381
  • Scherr, S., & Leiner, D. (2021). The populist hotbed: How populist attitudes, perceived injustice, and resentment drive selective exposure to populist news. PLOS One, 16(10), e0258220. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258220
  • Haim, M., Scherr, S., & Arendt, F. (2021). How search engines may help reduce drug-related suicides. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 126, 108874. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108874
  • Scherr, S., & Wang, K. (2021). Explaining the success of social media with gratification niches: Motivations behind daytime, nighttime, and active use of TikTok in China. Computers in Human Behavior, 124, 106893. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2021.106893
  • Reifegerste, D., Wiedicke, A., Temmann, L. J., & Scherr, S. (2021). Mut zur Lücke: Verantwortungszuschreibungen auf der Ebene sozialer Beziehungen als neuer Bereich der Framing-Forschung zu Gesundheitsthemen [Mind the gap: Responsibility attributions at the level of the social network as a new avenue for research on the framing of health topics]. Publizistik, 66(2), 255–276. doi:10.1007/s11616-021-00652-5
  • Scherr, S. (2021). Traditional media use and depression in the general population: Evidence for a non-linear relationship. Current Psychology, 40, 957–972. doi:10.1007/s12144-018-0020-7
  • Markiewitz, A., Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2021). Verantwortungsvolle Berichterstattung über Suizide: Forschungsüberblick und Empfehlungen für die journalistische Praxis [Responsible reporting on suicides: A review of current research and practical recommendations for journalists]. Medien Journal, 44(3), 50–68. doi:10.24989/medienjournal.v44i3.1804
  • Arendt, F., Markiewitz, A., Mestas, M., & Scherr, S. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic, government responses, and public mental health: Investigating consequences through crisis hotline calls in two countries. Social Science & Medicine, 265. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113532
  • Arendt, F., Markiewitz, A., & Scherr, S. (2020). Investigating suicide-related subliminal messages on Instagram: A frame-by-frame analysis of video posts. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 42(4), 263–269. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000717
  • Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2020). News-stimulated public-attention dynamics and vaccination coverage during a recent measles outbreak: An observational study. Social Science & Medicine, 265. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113495
  • Bartsch, A., Scherr, S., Mares, M.-L., & Oliver, M. B. (2020). Reflective thoughts about violent media content – development of a bilingual self-report scale in English and German. Media Psychology, 23(6), 794–819. doi:10.1080/15213269.2019.1647248
  • Arendt, F., Haim, M., & Scherr, S. (2020). Investigating Google’s suicide-prevention efforts in celebrity suicides using agent-based testing: A cross-national study in four European countries. Social Science & Medicine, 262. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112692
  • Scherr, S., & Zhou, J. (2020). Automatically identifying relevant variables for linear regression with the Lasso method: A methodological primer for its application with R and a performance contrast simulation with alternative selection strategies. Communication Methods and Measures, 14(3), 204–211. doi:10.1080/19312458.2019.1677882
  • Scherr, S., Arendt, F., Frissen, T., & Oramas, J. (2020).  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, 38(6), 673–685. doi:10.1177/0894439319836389
  • Niederkrotenthaler, T., Braun, M., Pirkis, J., Till, B., Stack, S., Sinyor, M., Tran, U., Voraceck, M., Cheng, Q., Arendt, F., Scherr, S., Yip, P. S. F., & Spittal, M. (2020). Association between suicide reporting and suicide: Systematic review and meta-analysis. The BMJ, 368(8238), m575. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m575
  • Scherr, S., & Goering, M. (2020). 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, 35(8), 1004–1012. doi:10.1080/10410236.2019.1606135
  • Markiewitz, A., Scherr, S., & Arendt, F. (2020). Increasing adherence to media guidelines on responsible reporting on suicide: Suggestions from qualitative interviews with German journalists. Journalism Studies, 21(4), 494–511. doi:10.1080/1461670X.2019.1686412
  • Markiewitz, A., Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2020). #suizid: Zur Darstellung von Suizid in sozialen Netzwerken und den möglichen Auswirkungen auf Jugendliche [#suicide: Suicide on social media, and possible effects on young users]. KJug – Kinder und Jugendschutz in Wissenschaft und Praxis, 65(1), 19–25.



  • Scherr, S. (2016). Depression – Medien – Suizid: Zur empirischen Relevanz von Depressionen und Medien für die Suizidalität [Depression – media – suicide: On the empirical relevance of depression and media for suicidality]. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.



Sebastian Scherr (Ph.D., University of Munich) is a Full Professor and Chair of Digital Health Communication in the Department of Media, Knowledge, and Communication at the University of Augsburg, Germany.


His research and teaching interests focus on individual and structural susceptibility factors for media effects with an emphasis on mental health, suicide prevention, and empirical methods. He published over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and wrote the first monography on depression, media, and suicide. He has received over $ 2.2 million in research grants from funding agencies in Germany, Belgium, South Korea, and the U.S.


Dr. Scherr earned his tenure at Texas A&M University in 2022, where he is also a Ray A. Rothrock ’77 fellow for highly-recommended faculty members to promote their exceptional projects and outstanding teaching awarded by the College of Liberal Arts. In 2021, Dr. Scherr received the Early Career Award from the NCA Health Communication Division, he also received seven top paper or top poster awards from major communication associations, and he is on the editorial board of multiple journals. He received awards for excellence in teaching and takes pride in supporting the early careers of 25+ students with co-authored conference and peer-reviewed journal publications, research awards, and travel or research grants.