Remember That Metalhead Kid You Were So Worried About? Things Turned Out Just Fine

A lot of people go through an extreme metal phase, complete with the jean jackets, the leather, the chains, the patches and the metal studs. Chances are, though, they’ll end up being…normal. Good or bad? This is from Pacific Standard:

Among Americans’ periodic periods of panic over the corrosiveness of pop culture, the 1980s campaign to vilify heavy metal music stands out for the decibel level of both the music and the protests.

With dramatic testimony in courtrooms and at Congressional hearings, concerned parents and even government officials warned that groups like Iron Maiden and Metallica were enticing our teenagers into moral and spiritual darkness—up to and including devil worship.

So now that three decades have passed since this alleged attempt by Satan to infiltrate young brains via eardrum-shattering sounds, how are those headbangers doing? Did their punishingly loud and intense music send them spiraling into lives of despair?

Not so, according to a newly published study. In fact, researchers find that former metal fans “were significantly happier in their youth, and better adjusted currently” compared to their peers who preferred other musical genres, and to a parallel group of current college students.

“Social support is a crucial protective factor for troubled youth. Fans and musicians alike felt a kinship in the metal community, and a way to experience heightened emotions with like-minded people.”

“Metal enthusiasts did often experience traumatic and risky ‘sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll’ lives,” reports a research team led by Humboldt State University psychologist Tasha Howe. “However, the metalhead identity also served as a protective factor against negative outcomes.”

Aha! Metal can actually be good for you! Read on. (Via Tom)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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