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stoirmeil 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 12:05 PM
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OK, this is real science, not a joke. But still somewhat intriguing to think about -- notice the line about independence of the findings from other factors.

This is only the abstract -- I imagine you could get hold of the whole report, including the methods section detailing exactly how they set up the research, through your library.

I always wondered why there wasn't a "Yankee Gothic" genre in literature . . . this may shed some light (or maybe some dark) on the subject.


The Effect of Country Music on Suicide
STEVEN STACK, Wayne State University
JIM GUNDLACH, Auburn University


Abstract
This article assesses the link between country music and metropolitan suicide rates.
Country music is hypothesized to nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with
problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and
alienation from work. The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan
areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white
suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun
availability
. The existence of a country music subculture is thought to reinforce the link
between country music and suicide. Our model explains 51% of the variance in urban
white suicide rates.

Sociological work on the relationship between art and society has been largely
restricted to speculative, sociohistorical theories that are often mutually
opposed. Some theorists see art as creating social structure ( Adorno 1973), while
Sorokin ( 1937 ) suggests that society and art are manifested in cyclical autono­
mous spheres; and still others contend that art is a reflection of social structure
( Albrecht 1954). Little empirical work has been done on the impact of music on
social problems. While some research has linked music to criminal behavior
( Singer, Levine & Jou 1990), the relationship between music and suicide remains
largely unexplored. Music is not mentioned in reviews of the literature on
suicide ( Lester 1983; Stack 1982, 1990b); instead, the impact of art on suicide has
been largely restricted to analyses of television movies and soap operas (for a
review, see Stack 1990b).

In this article, we explore the link between a particular form of popular
music (country music) and metropolitan suicide rates. We contend that the
themes found in country music foster a suicidal mood among people already at
risk of suicide and that it is thereby associated with a high suicide rate. The
effect is buttressed by the country subculture and a link between this subculture
and a racial status related to an increased suicide risk.

____________________
© The University of North Carolina Press Social Forces, September 1992 71(1):211-218
* Data on suicide mortality and most other variables were provided by the Inter-University
Consortium for Political and Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. We are
grateful to Richard Peterson for his inspirations and helpful discussions, to the anonymous
reviewers for their probing reviews, and to Mitch Henry for his help in gathering the data on
country music. Direct correspondence to Steven Stack, Department of Sociology, Wayne State
University, Detroit, MI 48202.
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coastman 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 01:07 PM
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Nuts!!!!!
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stoirmeil 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 02:08 PM
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QUOTE (coastman @ 10-Oct-2007, 01:07 PM)
Nuts!!!!!

Quite possibly. I'm just reporting what I found. cool.gif
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maggiemahone1 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 02:47 PM
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I agree with coastman! Nuts!!! biggrin.gif
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Rindy 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 04:17 PM
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They always have to blame the music sad.gif

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Robert Phoenix 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 05:52 PM
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I wonder what the effectof listening to Celtic music is. clap.gif cheers.gif


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LadyOfAvalon 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 05:59 PM
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Sure, anything is fine as a solution to problems for some people.
If country music is a link for suicide what about rave music or rap that talks about killing your parents. Which in my eyes is far more a link to violence and suicide...indeed it's nuts.


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CelticRadio 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 06:32 PM
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QUOTE (Robert Phoenix @ 10-Oct-2007, 06:52 PM)
I wonder what the effectof listening to Celtic music is. clap.gif cheers.gif

I think for the most part, Celtic Music is definitely more uplifting. While there are dark songs of Celtic background, for the most part, Celtic music is about dancing, drinking and leaving your problems where they belong - at the door! biggrin.gif

I do agree that listening to many songs in a row about problems just brings you down. Positive songs I think can cheer you up and make you think of things in a different light.



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Aaediwen 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 06:45 PM
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QUOTE (Robert Phoenix @ 10-Oct-2007, 05:52 PM)
I wonder what the effectof listening to Celtic music is. clap.gif  cheers.gif

Increased appreciation of true beer, and a tendency for males to wear unbifurcated garments? Perhaps a greater tendancy for rebellion? I'm convinced that blaming art for societal flaws is a load of smelly crock. Sure, perhaps an isolated incident may occur (Like the guy who killed himself after being cheated on EverQuest) But in general, if someone is unstable enough not to control such tenancies that much, then they have bigger issues than what music they listen to or shows they watch.

I like the line that if games effected people like that then we'd all be sitting in darkened rooms munching bright pills and listening to repetitive music while running from ghosts. Same goes for other art forms.


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stoirmeil 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 07:50 PM
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QUOTE (Aaediwen @ 10-Oct-2007, 06:45 PM)
But in general, if someone is unstable enough not to control such tenancies that much, then they have bigger issues than what music they listen to or shows they watch.

I'm not endorsing this one way or the other -- just found it odd and a talking point. But there's never one reason for a desperate act, and so you can't talk about simple causation. I think the study may simply be pointing out a correlation that bears out statistically -- certainly the researchers would have to show that it does -- when someone is burdened already, as you say, a big dose of sad songs about personal relationship disasters can show up in the mix of things leading up to an attempt, more often than chance would account for.
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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 07:59 PM
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Wonder if they investigated the relationship of hip hop "music" and the white suicide rate. rolleyes.gif


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Robert Phoenix 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 10:09 PM
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QUOTE (TheCarolinaScotsman @ 10-Oct-2007, 06:59 PM)
Wonder if they investigated the relationship of hip hop "music" and the white suicide rate. rolleyes.gif

Or the murder rate.
What use to scare the heck out of me is that when I worked in a music store during the late 90's rap out sold everything else three or four to one. Of course that trend seems to be ending now. I think that one of the reasons is that we as Americans, at least in the white culture, have lost so much of our Old World Traditions. I'm half Italian/half German but we did not have or celebrate any traditions in our family growing up that were native to either side. My grandparents had known some of the languuage but that was it. I couldn't even name one native Italian singer or song if I tried aside from really popular opera or tenor singers like Pavarotti or Bocelli
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maggiemahone1 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 10:25 PM
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I luv listening to Bocelli, his music in no way shape or form would make you think suicidal thoughts, only LOVE! Nothing is more relaxing than a glass of wine and Bocelli!!! anyway I think that just comes from everday living when life gets you so down, a person thinks there's no way out... Very sad but true...A wise man once told me, Suicide is the easy way out and I believe that to be true...You have to be a strong person to put up with the crap that the world dishes out today...this is my opinion, I don't represent no one but me own darn self!!! Celtic music does lift your spirits especially if you've had a Guiness or two or three!!! angel_not.gif


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ogdenmusic 
Posted: 10-Oct-2007, 10:28 PM
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Country music and suicide, I don't think so.
What would Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and
the other say to this?

Many different styles of music deal with many of lifes
challenges and experiences good and bad. But to suggest
he leads to suicide, I can't go with that.


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stoirmeil 
Posted: 11-Oct-2007, 08:17 AM
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Interesting how we resist the idea of music's influence, as though it were a primary cause. The idea is that music is or can be a significant influence on someone who is already being affected by other factors. We admit it is uplifting, or adds to feelings of love -- but it has also always been used as a support to war efforts (the pipes are as much a weapon of war as they are a dance instrument: there are several World War I accounts of the tune "Blue Bonnets" bringing the men "over the top"), and there have been plenty of studies on the social effects of violent or degradingly sexual popular music, like some (but not all) rap.

It's not being talked about as a primary cause in this study -- but as a factor which has a strong potential to tip a balance that is already heading in a direction. Music is a powerful adjunct to education, faith, work, sexuality, optimism, patriotism, war, expression of grief and despair -- any tendency can be strengthened by it, the more so because it is almost completely an emotional rather than a thinking influence. So it certainly could contribute to tipping over a fragile balance for someone who is depressed enough to be thinking about death already. This is different from saying that it "leads to" it.

I don't know how they conducted this study without seeing the whole report, and I have only seen the abstract, so I can't tell if their methods and results are valid; but I don't think their results can be rejected based solely on personal experience either. It seems like they are following up on a solid history of study on the effect music can have on all kinds of behaviour.
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