Listening to music linked to added depression in teens

By Sheryl Kay • Published: July 19th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Listening to music can often be energizing or relaxing, but new evidence shows there may be another side to this universal activity.

In a study recently published in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, researchers found that adolescents who listen to more music run a greater risk of having major depressive disorders than other adolescents.

Funded by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the RAND University of Pittsburgh Health Institute, the study involved one-hundred-and-six teens. Nearly half had been previously diagnosed with major depression.

The researchers outfitted the teens with answer-only cell phones and then called them up to sixty times over the next two months. During each phone call, the scientists asked the teens to report exactly what they were doing. The investigators specifically focused on whether the youth were using media, like watching television and movies, listening to music, searching the Internet, or even just reading.

The findings showed that the adolescents who spent more time jamming to tunes were eight times more likely to be depressed than the teens who spent the least amount of time listening to music. Among teens who read, those who spent the most time in the company of books were less likely to be depressed than those who spent the least time reading.

The researchers were quick to note that the study cannot determine which came first … the depression or listening to music. But based on past research, the thought is that depressed people turn to music for relaxation, and not that music causes the depression.

So fear not… listening to Lady Gaga probably won’t make you feel sad. And it might just make you want to get up and dance.