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The Music You Listen To

Did you know music may effect your feelings and influence thoughts of depression, drug taking, suicide and more.

Martin et al. (1993) surveyed 247 high school students in two Australian government high schools about their musical preferences and aspects of their psychological health and lifestyle.

The results showed a marked gender bias, with 74% of the girls preferring pop music compared with 71% of the boys preferring hard rock/heavy metal music.  They also reported significant associations between a preference for hard rock/heavy metal music and suicidal thoughts, acts of deliberate self-harm, "depression," "delinquency," drug taking, and family dysfunction.

They suggested that there is a group of young people with preexisting personal family psychopathology who may choose hard rock/heavy metal music because its themes resonate with their own feelings of frustration, rage, and despair. Many of these adolescents report that listening to hard rock/heavy metal music actually makes them feel happier.

The article did, however, identify 11% of the sample who claimed that listening made them feel sadder and postulated that it is perhaps this group that is at most risk for suicidal behavior.

What is the lesson to be learned from the study?

Simply the music you and your friends listen to can effect your life decisions and make you feel sad, depressed and even suicidal. You may say this study was in 1993 and this is now.   But what if the results of the study can effect you too. Is it worth the risk? The lyrics you listen to can effect your life choices so choose wisely.

Some kids say, "I like how RAP Music sounds" but ask yourself, "What if the music changes what I think about my life?"

In a clinical sample of 88 psychiatric patients, Took and Weiss (1994) questioned the relationship between musical preference and adolescent turmoil. This study was the first to include rap music as a preference category.

Although the initial results indicated that those who preferred heavy metal and rap had worse school grades, more school behavior problems, increased sexual activity, and increased drug and alcohol use and arrests, when controlled for gender, only below-average current and elementary school grades and a history of counseling in elementary school for school problems remained significant.

So what does this mean to you and your music preferences?

Think about it.

You can be influenced by what music you listen to.

Be smart and choose wisely.