These are future responsible parents.
Remember the 80’s? Maybe you don’t. But there was a large movement of ‘concern’ from parents who, lacking the ability to communicate with their own children, blamed this new thing called, ‘heavy metal’ for every teenage woe they could put on a list and trot in front of congress in a bid to save our youth.
The most notable effect of this crusade against Satan was an increase in sales of records and black t-shirts.
And like most religious based ‘the sky is falling’ claims levied at our youth for why they are acting like… well… youth… this idea that metal was corrupting our young people turns out to have been overblown hyperbole.
According to a new study, researchers found that former metal fans “were significantly happier in their youth, and better adjusted currently” compared to their peers who preferred other musical genres, and to a parallel group of current college students.
“Social support is a crucial protective factor for troubled youth. Fans and musicians alike felt a kinship in the metal community, and a way to experience heightened emotions with like-minded people.”
“Metal enthusiasts did often experience traumatic and risky ‘sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll’ lives,” reports a research team led by Humboldt State University psychologist Tasha Howe. “However, the metalhead identity also served as a protective factor against negative outcomes.”
The study, published in the journal Self and Identity, featured 377 adults: 154 who were heavy metal fans growing up in the 1980s (including musicians and “groupies”); 80 who typically listened to other types of music during their teen years; and 153 current students at a California university. Members of the latter group were recruited from a psychological department participant pool; the others were recruited online.
All participants answered detailed questions about their youthful experiences and current levels of success and happiness. The results will surprise the scolds.
“Despite the challenges of adverse childhood events, and other stressful and risky events in their youth,” the researchers write, former metal aficionados “reported higher levels of youthful happiness” than peers with other musical tastes as well as today’s college students. “They were also less likely to have any regrets about things they had done in their youth.”
In fact, those who focused on types of music outside of heavy metal “sought psychological counseling for emotional problems more than any other group, indicating a less happy and fulfilling perspective on their 1980s adolescence.” Perhaps, then, Tipper Gore and company were focusing their concern on the wrong kids.
Although to be fair… I wouldn’t have pegged these delinquents as future well-adjusted members of society.