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Case Study 07: Suicide due to Depression

Name: Christine Chubbuck


Background Info from Wikipedia:


Christine Chubbuck (August 24, 1944 – July 15, 1974) was an American television news reporter who worked for WTOG and WXLT-TV in Florida. She is known for being the first person to commit suicide on a live television broadcast.



Chubbuck spoke to her family at length about her struggles with depression and suicidal tendencies, though she did not inform them of her specific intent beforehand. She had attempted to overdose on drugs in 1970 and frequently made reference to that event. She had also been seeing a psychiatrist up until several weeks before her death. Chubbuck's mother chose not to tell station management of her daughter's suicidal tendencies, because she feared Chubbuck would be fired as a result.


Her focus on her lack of intimate relationships is generally considered to be the driving force for her depression; her mother later summarized "her suicide was simply because her personal life was not enough." She lamented to co-workers that her 30th birthday was approaching and she was still a virgin who had never been on more than two dates with a man. Her brother Greg later recalled several times she had gone out with a man before moving to Sarasota, but agreed she had trouble connecting socially in the beach resort town. He believed her constant self-deprecation for being "dateless" contributed to her ongoing depression. In a later interview, Greg stated that Christine had been in two serious relationships: the first had been when she was a teenager and was with a man in his 20s who had subsequently died in a car accident, and the second had been as an adult, but she had broken it off under pressure from her father because the boyfriend was Jewish.


She had her right ovary removed in an operation the year before, and had been told that if she did not become pregnant within two to three years, it was unlikely she would ever be able to conceive.


According to a 1974 Sally Quinn article in the Washington Post, Chubbuck had an unrequited crush on co-worker George Peter Ryan. She baked him a cake for his birthday and sought his romantic attention, only to find out he was already involved with sports reporter Andrea Kirby. Kirby had been the co-worker closest to Chubbuck, but she was offered a new job in Baltimore, which had further depressed Chubbuck.


Chubbuck's lack of a romantic partner was considered a tangent of her desperate need to have close friends, though co-workers said she tended to be brusque and defensive whenever they made friendly gestures toward her. She was self-deprecating, criticizing herself constantly and rejecting any compliments others paid her. Years later, her brother Greg recalled that she displayed many symptoms of bipolar disorder, which was not generally recognized in the psychiatric community at the time of her death.


A week before her suicide, she told Rob Smith, the night news editor, that she had bought a gun and joked about killing herself on air. Smith later stated that he did not respond to what he thought was Chubbuck's "sick" attempt at humor, and changed the subject.



On the morning of July 15, 1974, Chubbuck confused co-workers by claiming she had to read a newscast to open Suncoast Digest, something she had never done before. That morning's talk show guest waited across the studio while Chubbuck sat at the news anchor's desk. During the first eight minutes of her program, Chubbuck covered three national news stories and then a shooting from the previous day at local restaurant Beef & Bottle, at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport. The film reel of the restaurant shooting had jammed and would not run, so Chubbuck shrugged it off and said on-camera, "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in 'blood and guts' and in living color, you are going to see another first—an attempted suicide." She drew the revolver and shot herself behind her right ear. Chubbuck fell forward violently and the technical director faded the broadcast rapidly to black.


The station quickly ran a standard public service announcement and then a movie. Some television viewers called the police, while others called the station to inquire if the shooting was staged.


Chubbuck was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead 14 hours later. Upon receiving the news, a WXLT staffer released the information to other stations using Chubbuck's script. For a time, WXLT aired reruns of the TV series Gentle Ben in place of Suncoast Digest.


ZWDS Chart:



Chart Analysis: the signs of suicide due to depression:

  1. Lai-Yin Palace (Life Friends-Palace) with one of the Karmic Stars --- “Zuo-Fu”;

  2. Life Health-Palace “Tai-Yang” Hua-Ji;

  3. Decade 23-32 Health-Palace Flying Tai-Yang Hua-Ji into Life Health-Palace;

  4. Life Happiness-Palace with Life Hua-Lu, Self Hua-Ke and Self Hua-Ji;

  5. Decade 23-32 Happiness Lu to Opposite;

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