I found the results of this study, published earlier this week, really interesting. It seems that researchers have found a link between listening to music and depression in teens. Out of the 106 participants surveyed over five weeks, “those who listened to the most music were 8.3 times more likely to be depressed than those who listened to the least amount of music.”
I don’t think that music makes teens depressed. The authors of the study say as much. They suggest that music might be serving as a coping mechanism for teens already suffering from depression. Just from anecdotal experience, however, I’d say that the music I choose to listen to enhances whatever mood I’m already experiencing. For example, if I’m in an upbeat, peppy mood I select songs with a fun dance beat. Teens with depression, on the other hand, might choose to experience their feelings through the sounds of Radiohead, Bright Eyes, or Elliott Smith.
Bright Eyes, “No Lies, Just Love”
I’m no psychologist/psychiatrist, but it seems to me that the self-perpetuating cycle of feeling sad then reinforcing those feelings by listening to depressing music is both a symptom and a cause of depression. It’s a symptom in that dark, recurring, almost cyclical thoughts are a indicator of major depression; it’s a cause in that listening to Dashboard Confessional on repeat certainly isn’t going to make you feel any better.
Scientists don’t know everything there is to know about this illness, but continued research in this area will only help us learn more. Until then, keep taking your meds and stay positive by listening to more songs like this: