A popular British newspaper, The Guardian, has shared a new think-piece that responds to a study in The Lancet Psychiatry, which suggests your child is three times more likely to self-harm if they identify as a “committed goth,” when juxtaposed with those who claim otherwise.
The study collected data from 3,694 teenagers who are associated with the UK Avon Longitudinal Study Of Parents And Children. At the age of 15, teens were asked which social group they identified most closely with, and then at the age of 18, they were evaluated for signs of depression and self-harm. Out of the 154 of the teens who identified as “goth” at the age of 15, 37 percent reported self-harming.
The Guardian offers the following as a response to the study: “Professor Lucy Bowes, the lead author of the Lancet Psychiatry paper, is keen to stress that most goths are perfectly happy and are not self-harming. Being a goth may indeed be protective because like minded people are drawn together and can support each other—stigmatising them further is not going to be helpful, she says. The study only shows an association between being a goth and self-harming and depression—it does not show that being a goth causes either.”
In other words: No, you shouldn’t be worried if your child identifies or associates themselves with goth culture. It’s simply an alternate form of self-expression that comes with some kick-ass fashion choices.