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A recent study of more than two thousand UK teens has found that young people identifying as ‘goth’ were three times more likely to suffer from clinical depression than their non-goth peers.

The study asked a large survey of 15 year olds to identify a subculture they most strongly identified with, and then three years later assessed the participants for symptoms of depression.

The question remains, though, over whether the subculture is a cause of the depression, or merely attracts those susceptible to it. On one hand its known for having a preoccupation with dark themes and ideas, but it’s also seen to be a welcoming haven for marginalised or isolated youth.

Recognisable for its dark clothing, makeup and taste in music – the goth movement originated in the 1980s as an offshoot of post-punk and seemed to reached its peak in the 90s, with goth characters popping up in just about every teen movie and TV series. Evidently, though, the aesthetic and way-of-life continues to resonate strongly among many young people.

The advice coming out of this study is one of support for young goths: that their well-being be closely monitored, and those at risk offered support.

Juliet Mentor

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