a study on Goth subculture

From: Scott Chase (ecphoric@hotmail.com)
Date: Fri 14 Apr 2006 - 20:37:38 GMT

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    Here's a interesting article about research on Goth subculture that found a relationship between this group and things like self-harm and suicide attempts:


    It seems suggested that it's not so much a case of the subcultre causing anti-self behavior but perhaps those predisposed to a negative outlook to gravitate towards Gothic things.

    But if given a case of someone standing in front of you with piercings, black hair, powdery white face makeup and a The Cure, Bauhaus or NIN t-shirt, can you assume they are more likely disposed to suicidal ideation or other self-destructive behavior (cutting etc)?

    The whole Goth thing could be looked upon as a memeplex (or mindset), but how many characteristics need to be possessed (or possess the individual if you prefer a meme view) before they cross the threshold into Goth. I like The Cure and NIN, but don't have dyed hair or black fingernails or a love of vampire fiction, so maybe I'm not Goth.

    Joseph Dominick's media studies text _The Dynamics of Mass Communication
    (5th ed.)_ talks about a "heavy metal subculture" (p. 570). This text was published in 1996, so the 80's-90's heavy metal thing was still fresh in pop culture. Research is discussed showing some association between suicide and heavy metal as indexed by subscription to a publication called *Metal Edge*. It didn't seem that the researchers actually looked at individual subscribers *per se* but at subscription rates in various states versus suicide rates in those states. Seems a little too subtle for me, but maybe there's something there. It wasn't that the magazine caused the behavior, but that it served as an index of heavy metal subcultural identification. Those into metal might be more likely to subscribe to this magazine.

    But do dark lyrics cause suicide, do kids with an already dark outlook respond more to dark lyrics, or are kids with a predisposition to self-negating or damaging behavior more readily drawn into so-called Gothic or heavy metal subcultures?

    Is this much ado about nothing?

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