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new study shows that '80s metalheads turned out much better than expected

Tue, July 7, 2015 6:43 PM PT

young metalheads might not be doomed after all
Photo: RWhite (Wikimedia Commons)

A study recently published in the journal Self and Identity concludes that contrary to 1980s research, young metal fans in the 80s did not roundly suffer poor developmental outcomes. In fact, it turns out that 1980s metalheads "were significantly happier in their youth, and better adjusted currently."

Titled Three Decades Later: The Life Experiences and Mid-Life Functioning of 1980s Heavy Metal Groupies, Musicians, and Fans, the study examined 377 "heavy metal groupies, musicians, and fans at middle age" using "snowball sampling" from Facebook.

Here's the good news:

Results revealed that metal enthusiasts did often experience traumatic and risky "sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll" lives. However, the "metalhead" identity also served as a protective factor against negative outcomes. They were significantly happier in their youth and better adjusted currently than either middle-aged or current college-age youth comparison groups. Thus, participation in fringe style cultures may enhance identity development in troubled youth.

Don't start pumping your child's ears with Slayer or The Black Dahlia Murder just yet, however, as Pacific Standard does highlight one caveat: The study was composed of individuals who were "relatively high functioning" and volunteered to participate. This would of course likely eliminate anyone who ultimately fell victim to drug addiction, suicide, or any other negative outcomes of "a dark lifestyle."

Fortunately, research team leader and Humboldt State University psychologist Tasha Howe reports that "metalheads in general were not significantly more likely to attempt suicide or have sex at earlier ages than other youth. Nor were they more likely to miss work due to physical or mental health problems as adults."

See, we're not all going to grow up to be total losers!

5 comments

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willy_wanker 7/8/2015 6:45:02 AM

lets see how the late 90s-early 00s juggalos and i-hate-you-dad nu-metal fans turn out 20+ years from now


anonymous 7/8/2015 6:55:18 AM

^this. lololol


anonymous 7/8/2015 7:33:22 AM

the late 90s early 00s juggalo/nu-metal fans are very likely in their early 30s as we speak.


anonymous 7/8/2015 9:00:32 AM

Smoking meth out of an Old Milwaukee can


anonymous 7/8/2015 10:37:01 AM

They weren't able to interview people that committed suicide? Imagine that.