Teenage goths are at higher risk of de­pres­sion: re­searchers

The China Post - - LIFE -

Teenagers who iden­tify as “goths,” a sub­cul­ture known for its mem­bers’ black clothes and makeup, have a three times higher risk of de­pres­sion than non-goth peers, re­searchers said Fri­day.

But they could not be sure whether it was a case of de­pres­sion lead­ing kids to join this par­tic­u­lar sub­group, or be­ing caused by it.

“Our study does not show that be­ing a goth causes de­pres­sion or self-harm, but rather that some young goths are more vul­ner­a­ble to de­vel­op­ing these con­di­tions,” said the study’s lead au­thor Lucy Bowes from the Univer­sity of Ox­ford.

In a years-long study of over 2,300 Bri­tish teens, Bowes and a team found that 15-year-olds who iden­ti­fied very strongly with the goth sub­cul­ture were three times more likely than their non-goth peers to be clin­i­cally de­pressed by age 18.

They were also five times more likely to phys­i­cally harm them­selves, the re­searchers re­ported in The Lancet Psy­chi­a­try.

At 15, the study par­tic­i­pants were asked to what ex­tent they iden­ti­fied with a va­ri­ety of sub­cul­tures, in­clud­ing “sporty,” “pop­u­lar,” “skaters,” “lon­ers,” and “bim­bos.” Three years later, they were re-as­sessed for symp­toms of de­pres­sion and self-harm.

“Skaters” and “lon­ers” also pre­sented an in­creased risk, but not to the ex­tent of goths, the re­searchers found.

“Young peo­ple who self-iden­ti­fied as ‘sporty’ were least likely to have de­pres­sion or self-harm at age 18,” said a state­ment.

It was pos­si­ble, the team said, that “peer con­ta­gion” within the goth sub­cul­ture was re­spon­si­ble for the link, but it could also be that the group at­tracted al­ready de­pressed so­cial out­casts.

“Teenagers who are sus­cep­ti­ble to de­pres­sion or with a ten­dency to self-harm may be at­tracted to the goth sub­cul­ture which is known to em­brace marginal­ized in­di­vid­u­als,” said co-au­thor Re­becca Pear­son from the Univer­sity of Bristol in Bri­tain.

Teenage goths should be closely mon­i­tored, the au­thors said, so that those at risk can be of­fered sup­port.


A team of sci­en­tists climb Sholes Glacier in Mount Baker, Washington, Fri­day, Aug. 7. Glaciers on Mount Baker and other moun­tains in the North Cas­cades are thin­ning and re­treat­ing. Seven have dis­ap­peared over the past three decades, and the over­all vol­ume of glaciers in the range has de­creased, while dozens oth­ers are los­ing mass.

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