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Need a reason to crank up the jams? Listening to metal music can actually improve your mental health, according to a new study published in the Journal of Community Psychology. Looks like it's time to start headbanging!
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In “Contextualizing the Mental Health of Metal Youth: A Community for Social Protection, Identity and Musical Empowerment,” the University of South Australia's Paula Rowe and Bernard Guerin find that metal has positive affect on those aged 18-24, as reported by Digital Music News.
Combating the idea that being involved in the metal scene somehow leads to metal health issues, the study contends that the social community and musical engagement provided by metal serves to bolster a positive mental outlook in many young music fans. In the research, the study's conductors spoke to 28 Australian youth (five females and 23 males) who say they strongly identify with metal and feel the community protects them from mental illness.
“Four core themes were found from transcripts,” reads the abstract. “They were all bullied or marginalized through social relationships at school; they enjoyed the impact of metal music and lyrics when angry or ostracized; they felt part of a protective community of metalheads, even though in many cases at this age it was more imagined than real; and embodying metal identities enabled them to keep bullies, detractors, and others at bay, and to find friend groups.”
Indeed, pursuant to the findings, the music and community provided by metal helps young people cope with personal problems and allows them to mature in the face of familial or social setbacks: “Despite experiences of intense family situations, ostracism, bullying and loneliness, these participants all got through this period of life with little or no explicit mental health issues.”
And this isn't the first time metal's been shown to have a positive affect on our brains: A similar study from 2016 found that metal music helps listeners confront questions of their own mortality and soothes “existential angst.”
What do you think of the research? If you're a metal fan, have you found that the scene provides you with a sheltering community and sense of well-being? Sound off in the comments and let us know how you feel.
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