Goth kids are more likely to be depressed and self-harm than other groups, according to a new study published in medical journal The Lancet.
The study had over 5000 participants involved, and it found that even when the scientists controlled for existing signs of depression and other factors, identifying as a goth led to an increased risk of depression.
Though what isn't clear is the causality - it isn't clear whether identifying as a goth makes people more vulnerable, or whether those at risk are more likely to be attracted to a goth subculture. For example, goths are both arguably broadly more accepting of kids who are "different" (eg, those who suffer from mental health problems), but at the same time goths can also be the targets of bullying and violence, as the sad murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007 shows.
The paper says that:
"Our findings suggest that young people identifying with goth subculture might be at an increased risk for
depression and self-harm. Although our results suggest that some peer contagion operates within the goth community,
our observational findings cannot be used to claim that becoming a goth increases risk of self-harm or depression."
What also made it tricky was that the definition of "goth" is socially constructed and will have subtly different meanings amongst different groups of people.
The paper goes on to suggest that "Working with young people in the goth community to identify those at increased
provide support might be effective." [BBC]