This chapter will review the factors that affect suicidal tendencies amongst adolescents as well as the role music plays in adolescent behavior. As there is a dearth of documentation on the emo culture, this review relied on articles and researches done in the United States and Australia.
Music and the Adolescent
According to Roe “music plays an important social role” in the development of adolescents (Roe K, 2000). Music acts as a buffer for adolescents; substituting as a means of distraction as well as entertainment. Roberts and Christenson (2001) assert that adolescent also use music as a way to take control of their moods and emotions. They maintain that music is also used as a means in the formation of their identities; this allows them achieve group identity and integration into subcultures. However, while Took and Weiss (1994) also agree that music is used as the means to join a social group, they ascertain that music is only used as a form to reflect the level of turmoil adolescents are feeling at that stage in their lives.
Many researchers have conducted studies on popular music and its effects on school work, social interaction, mood and affect, with particular emphasis on behavior. They have developed numerous theories which explain the link between music and behavior and Wass et al (1991) has made indications that heavy metal music has links to homicides, suicides and satanic practices. Public criticism was wildly sounded when Gaines (1991) implied that there was a link between heavy metal and teen suicide pacts. The American Academy of Pediatrics (1996) has stated that the effect that popular music has on children and adolescents is of paramount importance and is a cause for concern. Brookshire et al (2003) reinforced this perspective by declaring that the “lyrics of some genres of music have become more explicit in their reference to drugs, sex and death”. A study done by the National Institute of Media and Family in 1999 found that the contents of the top ten CDs revealed that each CD contained at least one song with sexual contents and that “genres such as rock, heavy metal and new emerging genres revolve around death, homicide, suicide and self mutilation.”
A number of correlation studies that have been conducted, reported that there are positive associations between exposure to heavy metal music and a variety of troublesome attitudes and behaviors. Martin, Clarke, and Pearce (1993) did a study investigating the relationship between music preferences using a sample of Australian high schools. The result of the study ascertained that significantly more females in the combined “rock and heavy metal’ group reported having thoughts of killing themselves and engaging in acts of self harm as opposed to those in the “pop” group. The study also found that those with preexisting problems gravitated towards certain types of music.
There are many who refutes the effects of lyrics; the argue that children and...