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Young goths may be more vulnerable to depression and self harm, study finds

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4643 (Published 28 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4643
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

UK teenagers who identify themselves as goths are more likely to be depressed and to self harm than those who belong to other social cultures, research published in Lancet Psychiatry has found.1

A study at Oxford and Bristol universities found that goths—characterised by dark clothes, black eyeliner, alienation from mass culture, and an attachment to certain kinds of post-punk music—are three times more likely to be clinically depressed at age 18 and five times more likely to self harm than those who do not identify with goth culture.

This does not mean that becoming a goth causes depression or self harm, said Lucy Bowes, of Oxford University, and Rebecca Pearson, of Bristol University, who led the study. They told a briefing at the Science Media Centre in London that this was an observational study that cannot identify cause and effect.

Nonetheless, they said that “peer contagion” could be a cause of their …

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