A study has found that heavy metal music is not causing mental health problems, in fact it’s doing completely the opposite.
The study published in the Journal of Community Psychology (via ABC and Made In America) saw researchers Paula Rowe and Bernard Guerin from the University of South Australia speak with 28 people aged between 18 and 24, finding that metal music provided a community for them to find solace from other problems that they may be facing.
“Despite experiences of intense family situations, ostracism, bullying and loneliness, these participants all got through this period of life with little or no explicit mental health issues,” the study found.
It further said that there’s a “popular opinion” that “metal music and identity” causes mental health problems but that’s somewhat misinformed.
“Most survived the challenges they encountered in their young lives by utilizing metal,” the study concluded.
It also found that the global heavy metal community provided a sense of “belonging and acceptance,” adding that, “all participants described how the embodiment of metal identities brought about a sense of social protection.”
The researchers believe that past research linking metal music and mental health problems has been limited.
“There is a history of speculating on the mental health of metal youth through correlational and experimental research that record nothing of the detailed social contexts and immediate life-worlds by talking to the metalheads directly,” Rowe and Guerin wrote in the journal.
They also noted that this perception may be due to public violent outbursts on-stage by metal performers using Ozzy Osbourne’s dove-biting incident as an example.
Dr Genevieve Dingle from the University of Queensland conducted a study with similar findings in 2015 and told the ABC that she hopes studies like these, “bust the myth that there’s something inherently negative or harmful or delinquent about listening to metal music.”
In 2016, a study found that metal helped listeners come to terms with their own mortality. The British Psychological Society found that listening to songs that deal with death can actually help fight against existential angst.
Researchers also said that metal music can serve as an, “escape from depression and even helpful against death-related thoughts”.
Another study conducted by Humboldt State University in the US found that metalheads were generally happier than non-metalheads.