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Listening to Music Linked to Increased Risk of Depression According to New Study

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That said, linking pop music exposure to what the study authors describe as the leading cause of disability in the world could ultimately reveal mechanisms that might reduce young people's risk for depression, the researchers said.

"Now this is a preliminary finding, and there's nothing about this that says that pop music is bad," said study author Dr. Brian A. Primack, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "In fact, it may even be therapeutic, in that teens who are already depressed might be seeking a kind of solace or meaning in the kind of music that they listen to. Or it could be the other possibility, that there are certain messages in music that can unmask a predisposition to depression, or even lead teens to become depressed. We just don't know.

"What is clear is that this seems to be a really strong association between pop music and depression," added Primack. "So this could be an interesting marker that can help us recognize depression. And it perhaps has implications for parents and health-care providers, in that it could be that noticing that a teen is listening to music constantly could be a sign of depression."Teen_girl_listening_to_music

It's estimated that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 are exposed to 10 hours a day of media in one form or another, the researchers said.

To explore the possible relationship between some forms of media exposure and a risk for depression among children, the research team analyzed data that had been collected between 2003 and 2008 as part of the Child and Adolescent Depression and Anxiety Study conducted at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh. The kids' ages ranged from 7 to 17.

Forty-six of the 106 mostly white participants, whose average age was 12.7 years, were experiencing a major depressive disorder episode (depression) at the time of study as determined by an initial psychiatric interview. Of those, nearly 75% (three in four) also had an anxiety disorder. The other 60 kids had no prior history of mental illness.

Over the 60 day study period, the participants (63% of whom were female) were interviewed by phone 12 times on five separate weekends and asked to detail their exposure to any of these five media: music, the Internet, video games, TV/movies, and printed matter (such as books, magazines and/or newspapers).

The researchers determined that gender and age had little bearing on whether or not the children were found to have major depressive disorder (depression).

However, in terms of media exposure, the more they listened to pop music (via CD players or MP3 players), the greater the likelihood of having major depressive disorder (depression).

When the researchers divided media exposure into four levels, ranging from least to most pop music exposure, the researchers found each increasing level of pop music exposure was associated with an 80% increase in depression risk.

Internet, video game, and TV exposure was not found to have a statistically significant association with depression risk one way or the other.

In contrast to the findings linking pop music to increased depression risk, exposure to print media was linked to a lower risk for depression. With each increasing level of exposure to print media, depression risk dropped by 50%.

The researchers stressed that although the findings seem to confirm previous evidence of pop music and print's impact on teen depression, more research is needed to further explain the associations.

SOURCES:

  • April 2011 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine;
  • Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ed.M., M.S., assistant professor, medicine and pediatrics;
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2011 02:31
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