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Study: Heavy Metal Fans More at Risk for Mental Illness?

If you live in Australia, you might want to take your Slayer CDs out of your school locker and put them somewhere safe. A new study conducted by Melbourne University finds that teens exposed to heavy metal music are more susceptible to depression and suicide.

Dr. Katrina McFerran -- who we've confirmed isn't Tipper Gore operating under a pseudonym -- looked at the effects of several types of music on teenagers 13-18, and found that there was a higher risk of mental illness.

"Most young people listen to a range of music in positive ways; to block out crowds, to lift their mood or to give them energy when exercising," said McFerran, "but young people at risk of depression are more likely to be listening to music, particularly heavy metal music, in a negative way."

She continued: "If this behavioural continues over a period of time then it might indicate that this young person is suffering from depression or anxiety, and at worst, might suggest suicidal tendencies."

Personally, I don't see what's so bad about Suicidal Tendencies, as Lights...Camera...Revolution! was an amazing album, but McFerran seems pretty concerned, and seems to think schools should be intervening.

To be fair, McFerran did point out that that some teens experienced heightened moods after listening to heavy metal. Still, she advises parents to talk to their kids after listening to heavy metal, and if they seem sad or upset, so tell them to stop.

Of course, we'd like to point out that this paper has likely not been peer-reviewed, and that it could very well be confusing causation with correlation, a much trickier thing to test for in a controlled manner. This has been your Guitar World medical research disclaimer.

Thanks to the report go to Australia's Herald Sun.

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Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.