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Sebastian Scherr

Faculty member Sebastian Scherr
Assistant Professor
Areas of Speciality
  • Health Communication
  • BLTN 202E
Media and Suicide Prevention, Media and mental health/well-being, Information seeking, (Effects of) Presumed media influences, Political Journalism


Research Gate IconSebastian Scherr (PhD, University of Munich) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University. His research interests focus on individual and structural susceptibility factors for media effects in the domains of health and political communication, with a special emphasis on mental health, suicide prevention, and empirical methods.


Sebastian Scherr (Ph.D., University of Munich, 2015) is an Assistant Professor of Health Communication. 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. 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 an editorial board member of several Communication journals. He received awards for excellence in teaching and supported the early careers of 25+ students with co-authored conference and peer-reviewed journal publications, research awards, and travel or research grants.




Courses Taught

  • COMM 308
  • COMM 309
  • COMM 470
  • COMM 485
  • COMM 610
  • COMM 611

Representative Publications

Wang, K., & Scherr, S. (accepted). Dance the night away: How automatic TikTok use creates pre-sleep cognitive arousal and daytime fatigue. Mobile Media & Communication.

Temmann, L. J., Wiedicke, A., Schaller, S., Scherr, S., & Reifegerste, D. (accepted). A systematic review of responsibility frames and their effects in the health context. Journal of Health Communication.

Baugut, P., & Scherr, S. (online first). The news expectation predicament: Comparing and explaining what audiences expect from the roles and reporting practices of reporters on right-wing extremism. Journalism. doi:10.1177/1464884921996307

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

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 and 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 and 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 and 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.

Arendt, F., & Scherr, S. (2019). 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, 24(7-8), 654–662. doi:10.1080/10810730.2019.1652709

Scherr, S., Markiewitz, A., & Arendt, F. (2019). Evaluation of a workshop intervention on responsible reporting on suicide among Swiss media professionals. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 40(6), 446–450. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000584

Arendt, F., Scherr, S., & Romer, D. (2019). Effects of exposure to self-harm on social media: Evidence from a two-wave panel study among young adults. New Media and Society, 21(11-12), 2422–2442. doi:10.1177/1461444819850106

Arendt, F., Scherr, S., Pasek, J., Jamieson, P., & Romer, D. (2019). 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, 232, 489–498. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.04.007

Scherr, S., Toma, C., & Schuster, B. (2019). Depression as a predictor of Facebook surveillance and envy? Evidence from a cross-lagged panel study in Germany. Journal of Media Psychology, 31(4), 196–202. 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:10.1177/1461444818801010

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: 10.24989/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