From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

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  


Young R, Sweeting H, West P. Prevalence of deliberate self harm and attempted suicide within contemporary Goth youth subculture: longitudinal cohort study. BMJ 2006;332:1058-1061

pubmed  open access  

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