Are goths at a higher risk of depression?

Whilst research is not at a point where the link can be fully explained, it was found that goths have a tendency to distance themselves from society and that this could be a factor.

Researchers believe that despite the majority of these teenagers experiencing no concerns; the minority are important and should be considered for extra support.

The goth lifestyle has always attracted young people. With the focus on black or dark clothing, heavy eye make-up and the often aggressive, gloomy music being recognisable traits of the movement.

The study looked at over 3,500 adolescents aged 15, living in the Bristol area.

Research found that the more teenagers identified and connected with the subculture, the higher the risk of self-harm and depression.

The youths who saw themselves as a member of the culture were believed to have experienced bullying at school, and may have already shown signs of depression. Despite this, researchers argue that the link still remains even after these factors have been considered.

Researcher at the University of Bristol, Dr Rebecca Pearson, says there may be a number of reasons behind the links, including the possibility of teenagers that are susceptible to depression being naturally attracted to the goth culture.

She said, “The extent to which young people self-identify with goth subculture may represent the extent to which at-risk young people feel isolated, ostracised of stigmatised by society.”

However, Nattalie Richardson, aged 29 believes she suffered depression before she adopted the goth lifestyle.

“I personally think that kids who are depressed or have mental illnesses are drawn to this alternative lifestyle as a way of appearing different…

“I know that was the reason I started dressing differently… The image went with the music I listened to and that seemed to speak to the mess that was inside my head.”

Richardson believed that the music she listened to, and the style she adopted helped her realise she wasn’t alone in the battle she was facing. She added, “I was depressed and ill before I was a goth.”

Tim Sinister, blogger and self-identified goth said how he did not believe teenagers were at an increased risk of depression, just more open to discussing the problem.

Researchers have said that parents should not try to dissuade their children from adopting the goth culture; having friends and the sense of belonging to a community could in fact protect them from developing depression.

Instead, they suggest parents simply speak to their children about any worries they may have.

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Written by Ellen Lees
Head of Content.
Written by Ellen Lees
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