A Majority Of Metal Fans Are At Risk Of Depression? That’s What A New Academic Study Says

Posted by on October 20, 2011

Metal fans listen to heavy, aggressive, and sometimes even brutal music because they’re…depressed? Well according to a new study conducted by University of Melbourne researcher Dr. Katrina McFerran, young music fans who are at risk of depression are more likely to listen to heavy metal music.

Dr. McFerran reportedly conducted in-depth interviews with 50 young people aged between 13 and 18, along with a national survey of 1000 listeners, in an attempt to determine why many young metal fans use the genre in a negative way. In her study, she concluded the following:

“Most young people listen to a range of music in positive ways; to block out crowds, to lift their mood or to give them energy when exercising, but young people at risk of depression are more likely to be listening to music, particularly heavy metal music, in a negative way.

Examples of this are when someone listens to the same song or album of heavy metal music over and over again and doesn’t listen to anything else. They do this to isolate themselves or escape from reality.

If this behavior continues over a period of time then it might indicate that this young person is suffering from depression or anxiety, and at worst, might suggest suicidal tendencies.”

Now we don’t have any academic studies or research to full debate Dr. McFerran, but her study seems like it’s promoting an (sometimes) untrue stereotype of metal fans. It seems that her conclusion, that metal music is being used for negative purposes, simply seems unfair. I mean, has she ever heard songs like Lamb Of God’s “Set To Fail”? Wait…bad example.

You can read more about Dr. McFerran’s study over at the University Of Melbourne’s website.

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Categorised in: Down In A Hole

8 Comments

  • Glenn says:

    Here we go again…  Two things: it’s abundantly clear that people who are at risk for depression are…at risk for depression.  Second, no one listens to music to make themselves feel *worse*.

  • kort says:

    I have reason to believe there is more to this story than first appears.  Perhaps it has something to do with the Dr’s news link page…

    http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/n-666 <—- Satan !!!

    It's also good to know that someone who achieves doctoral status is able to devise a study that provides such unbiased results…what a hot steaming load.

  • kort says:

    Had it not been shortened…the link ends with “n-666.”    Fail.

  • Glenn says:

    I actually wrote to the author of the study and she sent me the whole thing (it wasn’t long).  Suffice it to say there actually was an interesting research result from her particular study, but the abstract of the study was a little less precise in its wording.  The media furor about metal fans being vulnerable to depression (by listening to metal music) came from the abstract and not from the study itself.  Basically there’s more to it than what the press reports have said, to the chagrin of the author herself. 

  • Glenn says:

    The headline on this very site is an example of the misleading characterization of the study.

  • Sarahrobinson676 says:

    This study doesn’t seem to hold much scientific wieght at all. As well as the fact that it was mentioned that she is seeking input from “particularly those who suffer from anxiety or depression” not monitoring a group of people over time and looking for depressed tendencies that seem to correlate with metal music listening such as is seen in well grounded psycologically studies seeking causal factors, and even if she did find such subjects that doesn’t scientifically imply that metal music would be a suffient cause of the disorders in the first place or even a contributary cause. Melbourne University’s website claims all studies must be peer reviewed but I don’t see how any “intellectual” colleagues could see this as well grounded work. And as far a “developing an intervention program before behavioral problems occur” is concerned, dealing with behavioral issues is much easier and more effective once the problem is identified, and unless this professor has done other studies that define a specific behavioral problem spawning off metal listening that she is able to tangibly treat with steady results enough to hypothesize a prevention program, she seems to just be  full of shit.

  • Ringoffire says:

    Couldn’t agree more, another simplistic pseudo-sociological study on the part of someone who probably already has a bias against metal. In all honesty, the excerpt from this study smacks more of an article in “Elle” than anything else.

  • Tyler says:

    My favorite genre of music is Metal and I think most of it is depressing. We listen to this music because we relate our own stories to those who composed the song.

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