TV, Internet, and video game exposure was not found to have a statistically significant association with depression risk one way or the other.
The study authors stressed that although the findings seem to confirm previous evidence of music and print's impact on teen depression, more research is needed to further explain the associations.
Michael W. O'Hara, a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, cautioned that while the study made "some interesting observations," the very nature of this kind of investigation makes it difficult to isolate exactly what's afoot.
"It's very hard to control for outside influences apart from, say, music exposure," he noted. "For example, things like poverty and low socioeconomic status are associated with a risk for depression and lots of other problems, and you would have to factor that in to see how big a role that plays as opposed to simply exposure to various forms of media.
"Of course, we do know that teens and adults who are more active and more socially engaged with others are less likely to have problems with depression," O'Hara added. "So music listening could be one of those activities that encourages teens to pull back from social interaction and dwell instead on their inner life. And, yes, perhaps that could raise a risk for depression."
For more on adolescent depression, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
SOURCES: Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ed.M., M.S., assistant professor, medicine and pediatrics; University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Michael W. O'Hara, Ph.D., professor, psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City; April 2011 Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
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