Teenagers who spend hours plugged into their MP3 players are at greater risk of depression than their friends who prefer reading, new research by a team of American scientists suggests.
Adolescents who excessively listen to music are over eight times likelier to suffer major depressive disorders than those who did hardly listen to music, according to the research published in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of North Carolina and the University of California, Berkeley.
The scientists observed 106 adolescents including 46 diagnosed with major depressive disorders, for a period of two months. The researchers called each adolescent over five extended weekends spread over these five weeks, to find out how they were spending their spare time.
Those who were exposed to the most music were 8.3 times more likely to be depressed compared to those who listened to music the least, the study found. In contrast, the researchers found, voracious readers were one-tenth as likely to be depressed as those who hardly read books.
"At this point, it is not clear whether depressed people begin to listen to more music to escape, or whether listening to large amounts of music can lead to depression, or both. Either way, these findings may help clinicians and parents recognize links between media and depression," Dr. Brian Primack, lead author of the study said. The findings were conducted only among American adolescents. Like in the US, several studies in major Indian cities have also shown a declining preference among youth for reading.