The link between depression and music is just as obvious as you think

Categories: Music News

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Think back to your teenage years. Chances are, if you were like any of us, you spent the majority of your time listening to music, reading the liner notes through and through and playing air guitar half-naked in your room. Doesn't sound that depressing? But a recent study in Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has linked teenage depression to music-listening.

Now, we're not entirely certain what music the kids were listening to (that part isn't revealed in the study), but considering we spent our teenage waking hours with the likes of the Smiths, the Cure or Sunny Day Real Estate, whatever it is must be some serious bummer-town shit.

The study, which has the tongue-twister of a title "Using Ecological Momentary Assessment to Determine Media Use by Individuals With and Without Major Depressive Disorder," studied 106 patients, 46 of whom were diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) over the course of five years.

The findings revealed that MDD is "positively associated with popular music exposure and negatively associated with reading print media such as books." No word on what books might be the most helpful, but we'd venture a guess they don't include Piers Anthony novels.

Teens who listened to music for an average of 9 percent of their day were eight times more likely to be depressed than those who didn't. Parents: Don't start a bonfire with your kids' Dashboard Confessional CDs just yet: Pediatrician Brian Primack, the lead author on the study, says it's probably more likely that kids are turning to music for solace rather than the music being the cause of their angst.

Obviously, it's still not exactly clear which comes first, the chicken or the egg: whether depressing music makes you depressed, or if you listen to depressing music because you're already depressed. We'd have liked to see a list of all the music on the kids' iPods, like that study last year about crying British men, because frankly, if it's full of Mazzy Star, Jeff Buckley and the Smiths, we wouldn't be surprised if the music was the root of the problem.

What's probably the most interesting part of this study is the fact that, when depressed, kids aren't tuning into to TV like they (probably) did in the '80s. At least, that's what we were warned about back in the '80s. Instead, they're just cranking their headphones up to eleven and zoning out. Or maybe it's all because kids don't have a big LP jacket to flip through while they're listening anymore -- that counts as reading print media, right?


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