Universities of Manchester and Liverpool conducted a research, according to which young heavy metal fans are five times more likely to self-harm or attempt suicide. This study was published in the British Journal Of Clinical Psychology and found that groups belonging to alternative subcultures are at far greater risk of hurting themselves.
Peter Taylor, a clinical psychologist from the University Of Manchester, said: “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”. And he continued: “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”.
Mairead Hughes from The University Of Liverpool added: “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”.
We don’t specialize in the psychology of adolescents, we aren’t experts and doctors, but it is very easy (naive maybe?) to blame one music genre and subculture of the psychological problems that young people deal with in our society. Yes, people who belong to a subculture are more likely to feel different, on the other hand, though, we believe we must find the true reasons of these psychological problems in the way our society treats young people. One question arises: Is heavy metal, rock or punk responsible for some youngsters’ feeling of “not belonging”?