Shocker: Metalheads More Depressed

She makes me depressed

I could have told you that.

I am the fucking epitome of depression. I’m miserable, but good fuck, do I love metal.

Now, someone’s gone and wasted money on a study about music and depression, and the findings are jaw-dropping.

Researchers have found that “significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression” exists “among listeners of heavy metal/hard rock music, as compared with non-listeners.”

A sample of 551 college students was assessed on music preference and on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trait anger.

A whopping 57 percent of the participants in the study, which was conducted by psychologists Gavin Ryan Shafron of Columbia University and Mitchell Karno of the University Of California-Los Angeles, described themselves as heavy metal listeners.

The high rate of preference was attributed to the geographic location of the data-collection site, being proximal to where modern heavy metal subgenres are popular.

Whatever the fuck that means.

Participants were asked to disclose their preference for various heavy metal sub-genres, including emo, hardcore punk, death metal, and thrash metal. These more recent offshoots to classic heavy metal “have dark overtones and often use graphic lyrics that express angry, depressed, or painted emotions, in combination with screams, groans, and particularly dense and/or particularly syncopated rhythms,” the researchers wrote.

Researchers hypothesized that participants who listen to heavy metal music would report higher levels of depression, anxiety, and trait anger as compared with participants who do not listen to heavy metal music.

Fans of hardcore scored significantly higher than the others on anger, anxiety, and depression, with depression also scoring high among emo fans. Researchers also found that anxiety was elevated among listeners of emo, screamo, and classic heavy metal.

This study’s just full of genius insights.

I will tell you why we’re more depressed and anxious — we think.

We’re not airheaded fucking pop fans who walk around the world, lying to themselves that everything’s “OK.”

We’re aware. We’re awake. And we’re fucking disheartened by what we see.

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About Chris Harris

Chris Harris is an internationally-published music journalist and writer whose work has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone, IFC, Revolver, Alternative Press, and Radar. The former news editor for Noisecreep, Harris also served as co-host for the site’s weekly podcast, “Creep Show." Before that, he spent four years writing for MTV News.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karolis.gimbutis.1 Karolis Gimbutis

    Fuck these studies, that’s bullshit. I listen to metal and I feel none of that shit. The point is that metalheads care about world and his problems and looking for solution how to solve them.

    • DrunkenPhysics

      Yes, your one piece of anecdotal evidence is sufficient enough to “fuck these studies” and dismiss them as “bullshit”

      • http://www.facebook.com/alex.maskill Alex Maskill

        “I refuse to accept that I might be kind of dysfunctional, and that gives me the authority to overturn a sociological study!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.maskill Alex Maskill

    This doesn’t surprise me at all, the amount of really messed-up dysfunctional people in the metal subculture is…well, highly disproportionate.

    Though I certainly think that last bit’s self-deluding and kind of endemic of the whole attitude, thinking that it’s not that something about metal is attractive to weird, maladjusted folks, it’s just another way in which metalheads can think they’re better than other people. We do tend to do this a lot in the metal subculture, measuring ourselves and our worth according to standards and measures which no-one outside of our subculture cares about.

    Probably because we’re apparently all anxious, insecure and depressed. Hey, it works!

  • Brian Alejandro

    I don’t think a study like this is saying ‘everyone who listens to this music is messed up.’ Don’t you think that by doing a study like this it tells us more about why people listen and how people use music? The obvious doesn’t always turn out to be true unless someone studies it. Maybe studies like this one can actually help to inform psychiatrists? I listen and I’m not depressed or anything, but I know alot of people who are so if it can help them I say awesome.