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Could Pop Music Be Linked to Depression?
Date:4/4/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- A preliminary study of American kids suggests a connection between listening to pop music and suffering from major depressive disorder.

But, before you pull the battery from your child's MP3 player, know that the study did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship. And there was no clear indication whether kids who were predisposed to depression were more strongly drawn to music or, instead, faced a greater risk for depression as a result of their music exposure.

The finding also didn't nail down exactly what type of music children and adolescents in the study listened to, but rather presumed that time spent listening to music was generally spent listening to the range of pop music currently embraced by the majority of American teens.

That said, linking pop music exposure to what the study authors describe as the leading cause of disability in the world could ultimately reveal mechanisms that might reduce young people's risk for depression, the researchers said.

"Now this is a preliminary finding, and there's nothing about this that says that music is bad," said study author Dr. Brian A. Primack, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "In fact, it may even be therapeutic, in that teens who are already depressed might be seeking a kind of solace or meaning in the kind of music that they listen to. Or it could be the other possibility, that there are certain messages in music that can unmask a predisposition to depression, or even lead teens to become depressed. We just don't know.

"What is clear is that this seems to be a really strong association," Primack added. "So this could be an interesting marker that can help us recognize depression. And it perhaps has implications for parents and health-care providers, in that it could be that noticing that a teen is listenin
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