Sydney, August 5 : Doctors can determine whether a teenager is at the risk of developing a mental illness or committing suicide just by asking him or her what type of music they prefer, according to a new study.
Published in Australasian Psychiatry journal, the study showed that teens who listen to pop music are more likely to be struggling with their sexuality, while those who prefer rap or heavy metal could be having unprotected sex and drink-driving.
Teens who favour jazz are usually misfits and loners.
The authors of the study say that these observations go to suggest that teens' musical tastes may serve as a diagnostic indicator in mental health assessments.
"There is no evidence to suggest that the type of music you listen to will cause you to commit suicide, but those who are vulnerable and at risk of committing suicide may be listening to certain types of music," smh.com.au quoted the author of the study, Felicity Baker, as saying.
She said that an Australian study of year 10 students had shown significant associations between heavy metal music and suicide ideation, depression, delinquency and drug-taking, while an American study had also shown that young adults who regularly listened to heavy metal had a higher preoccupation with suicide and higher levels of depression than their peers.
She further said that deliberate self-harm and attempted suicide was also linked with children who listened to trance, techno, heavy metal, and medieval music as part of the goth subculture.
Teens who attended dance parties were much more likely than their peers to be taking drugs, she added.
Dr. Baker also revealed that some genres of rap music, like French rap, were linked to more deviant behaviours including theft, violence and drug use, while teens listening to hip-hop were usually less troublesome.
Michael Bowden, a child psychiatrist and the head of medical programs at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry, said that most doctors already questioned teen patients about their influences from peers, the internet, and music.
"The key to understanding any teenager is to treat them with respect by listening to what they have to say, rather than typecasting them according to the type of music they listen to," he said.