There is statistical evidence that the goth trend may indicate depression in teens, and could be just more than a preference for darker clothing style, black nails, chains, spikes and heavy eyeliner. Some are indeed shielding emotional pain and depression underneath the black clothes and somber demeanor.
The study’s co-author, Dr. Rebecca Pearson at the University of Bristol, has stated that it’s highly important for adults and parents to be vigilant about signs of depression in their teenage child, as they have been linked to both depression and self harm in comparison to other subcultures of adolescents.
The concept of labels was brought up to over 5,300 teenagers, followed from birth to the age of 16 years old, and inquired about which group they believed themselves to fit in with the most. The choices were goth (or emo, as it has been known more popularity several years ago), sporty, populars, skaters, chavs (a behavior which indicates their lack of education or lower social class through style, manner or vocabulary), loners, keeners (the equivalent to “nerd”) and, likely the most poorly named, bimbos.
It would be quite difficult to garner a true statistic of teenage girls, or boys, who would place themselves in the latter.
Around 12% of the participants identified themselves as “goth”. By the time they were 15 years old, 25% of those who related “very much” to the trend were already engaging in self harm than the 10% of others who categorized themselves in one of the other groups. Depression seemed more present in goths on average as well.
Three years later, when the participants turned 18, the statistics grew even more worrying. Of those who were very avidly involved in the subculture, 18% of goths met the traits that would have led to a clear diagnosis of full-blown depression, and 37% had admitted to self harm, be it cutting, burning or other manners of self abuse.
Social status, parental income or personality did seem to matter among the categories.
Among those who did not identify themselves with the goth trend, only 6% showed signs of depression and 10% had purposefully inflicted injuries on themselves. It drew the conclusion that the black-clad teenagers who labeled themselves into the goth trend were thrice as likely to be depressed and almost four times more prone to inflicting self harm.
Fashion and trends are a phase a majority of adolescents experience throughout their teenage years, and it should mostly be seen as just that. However, while it should be emphasized that there is no cause-and-effect between being a goth and self injury or depression, there are signs that some are likely to display signs of worrying behavior.
Teenagers who described themselves as part of the “sporty” group were the least likely to show depression by the age of 18 years old, with only 4%, and another 6% self harm. Perhaps there is something to the concept of endorphin-producing exercise that makes us happy.
The study has explained that those who identified themselves as “goth” did have a tendency of feeling alienated and marginalized, which naturally drew them to a trend that defines itself by defying social norms. The group in itself could offer a certain comfort of those “likeminded”, who might be experience the same.
However, it should also be kept in mind that a matter of taste and simple subculture preference could be at hand. Black clothes, chains, spikes, metal jewelry and dark dyed hair might just be a trend, but it should be considered that there’s a likelihood for depression or self harm underneath.
Image source: wort.lu