Youth Culture, Music and Health
Youth subcultures can be defined as distinct cultural groups, often based around music preference and/or style, with which young people identify, e.g. hippies, goths, clubbers, etc. A substantial body of research has demonstrated the significance of such youth subcultures in young people's lives, and a growing body of work aims to investigate their impact on young people's health. Information on youth style identification and music preference was collected in both the Twenty-07 and 11 to 16/16+ studies.
Analyses of data from 18 year-olds in the 11 to 16/16+ study showed higher rates of self-harm amongst ‘goths', demonstrating that particular sub-groups of young people have specific health needs.
A PhD project which combined statistical analysis of Twenty-07 study data and in-depth interviews with a small sub-sample of Twenty-07 participants examined how musical identities relate to health and wellbeing over the youth-adult transition. Musical preferences changed over the youth-adult transition for most people, and this affected the links between musical identity and health. The main distinction was between those with, and without, a strong musical self-identity. The former were more likely to both engage in risky health behaviours and to indicate a more sophisticated use of music for therapeutic purposes.
Lonie D. Musical identities and health over the youth-adult transition [PhD], MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow 2009.open access