A new study has found that teens who identify themselves as Goths are more likely to fall into depression and to hurt themselves.
A team of researchers from the United Kingdom say that subjects who identified themselves as being somewhat Goth were more likely to have hurt themselves in the past by 2.33 times, compared to teens who didn’t identified themselves as being Goth.
And the subjects who identified themselves as being very Goth were more likely to have hurt themselves in the past by more than five (5) times, compared to teens who didn’t identified themselves as being Goth.
For the study, the researchers looked at thousands of subjects. They started monitoring them at birth and continued until the subjects were 18 years old. They surveyed them a couple of times, once when they were 15 years old, this when they split them in groups of Goths and non-Goths, and a second time three (3) years later, when the subjects were 18 years old and the researchers evaluated their mental health.
Overall, the research team noticed eight (8) big groups that the subjects identified with: Goths, bimbos, keeners, loners, chavs, skaters, populars, and the sporty.
The authors noted that “as we originally postulated, the reported association between Goth affiliation and depression could be due to social selection factors not addressed adequately in the previous study”. But they failed to answer an essential question – “why?”.
The main thing that the new study did was reinforce perception of stereotypes. This is a dangerous approach as people are generally much more complex than the media might like you to believe that they are.
If the researchers also add a connection to negative behavior, like they did here, people can often rely on this stereotypical perception, which is often flawed, or at the very least incomplete, when treating said stereotype and they may never get the help that they need, if they need it al all.
TheDailyBeast.com also questioned the researchers and reached out to some Goths on Reddit. What the reporter found is that Goths are actually more open minded than most people.
Clare Castleberry, a 35 year old from Louisiana, wrote that to her being a Goth means that she had the capacity to appreciate the beauty found in darkness, “exploring the idea of the ‘other’ — anything we as a society are uncomfortable with or tend to automatically dismiss”.
She said that Goths explore this otherness in an attempt to encourage people to think for themselves, question their beliefs, and change their perceptions.
Many Goths also said that they are able to openly talk about serious issues, such as mental health issues, precisely because of their embracement of the beauty of darkness.
Jack Corax, a 21 year old from New York, wrote that Goths are actually “much more in tune with such issues than the average person”. He stressed that Goths don’t have a fetish for suicide / death / mental issues, they’re just more willing go try to understand them and generally cherish honestly engaging with their emotions, as well as the emotions around them.
The findings were published a few days ago, in the journal The Lancet.
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