Academic studies regarding rock and metal fans usually uncover some pretty interesting and occasionally odd patterns in fan behavior. A new study from the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool have found an unfortunately disturbing trend in young rock and metal fans, and it's that they're five times more likely to self-harm or attempt suicide.
Clinical Psychologist Peter Taylor of the University Of Manchester said in the study that while some people tend to think musical preferences and thoughts of self-harm aren't correlated, "the literature we reviewed does suggest that these individuals are indeed in greater danger."
"The belief that alternative subcultures may be at an increased risk of self-harm and suicide is considered by some to be a myth. But the literature we reviewed does suggest that these individuals are indeed in greater danger. However, this research requires interpretation within the wider context of public concern around alternative subcultures and their impact on the mental health of young people."
"We're not saying that doctors should be worrying about everyone wearing a Metallica t-shirt, but if there are also other signs which point towards self-harm, then they definitely ask the question."Many people become affiliated with these groups because they feel like they don't fit into society and so face a lot of vulnerabilities. But there also might be victimization and stigma associated with belonging to these subcultures."
The findings claim fans of heavy metal reported between 31% and 74% of heavy metal fans have reported suicidal thoughts, while non-fans come in between 14% and 35%. These numbers range across five studies employed in the context of the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool's research.
Interestingly, the study also says there was a higher percentage of people within these "alternative subcultures" who experienced adversity, including bullying or victimization, difficult family relationships and prior emotional and/or behavior difficulties, but when the study was controlled for these variables, heavy metal fans (and punk and rock fans within the alternative subcultures) still had higher suicidal thoughts and actions than non-fans.
Why? Mairead Hughes from The University Of Liverpool says they're not so sure just yet.
"There is not enough evidence to tell us why it is that people belonging to these subcultures are at greater risk. Young people who have faced more adversity may be more likely to become part of a subculture, but this does not seem to fully explain the increased risk. Stress associated with being different and belonging to a minority group may also explain some of the risk."
You can read the full study here.
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