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Author: Wass, Hannelore; Raup, Jana L.; Cerullo, Karen; Martel, Linda G.
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Year: 1988
Article Title: Adolescents' interest in and views of destructive themes in rock music
Journal: Omega - Journal of Death & Dying
Volume: 19
Issue: 3
Pages: 177-186
ISBN/ISSN: 0305-0483
Source of Funding: Funding Source Not Stated in Paper
Study Design: Correlational Study
Publication Type: Journal Article
Age Group: Adolescence (13-17 yrs)
Abstract: Objective: To determine to what extent urban and rural adolescents prefer rock music and are familiar with lyrics with themes of homicide, Satanism, and suicide.

Design: Cross-sectional, in-school survey. Rock music "fans" defined by listing at least four rock artists/songs as their musical preference. Preferences classified as Homicide, Satanism, and suicide (HSS) by a third party panel.

Subjects and Setting: Middle and high school students (n = 694) from three urban and three rural (public and private) schools in Central Florida. Mean age 15.33; 54% female; 81% white. Students enrolled in special education/gifted programs excluded. Participation rate (teacher and parent consent) 53%.

Interventions: N/A

Outcome Measure(s): 16 open-ended and structured questions assessed music preferences, time spent listening to music, familiarity with lyrics, and attitudes toward rock music and HSS themes.

Results: 17% of students listed rock music bands/music with HSS lyrics (72% male and 96% white). No differences between rural and urban HSS fans. A higher proportion of HSS fans listened to more than 30 hours of music a week compared to general rock fans (t = 2.87, p < 0.005). 40.6% of HSS fans reported knowing all the lyrics to their favorite rock songs compared to 24.7% of general rock fans (t = 3.36, p < 0.001). 62.6% of HSS fans believed children should listen to destructive rock music compared to 32.3% of general rock fans (t = 5.98, p < 0.001), but fewer HSS fans thought adolescents would actually commit suicide or murder after listening to HSS themed music.

Conclusions: Results counter recording industry claims that adolescents are only interested in the sound of music and are unfamiliar with lyrics. Additional studies suggested in other geographic areas. Recommend future studies to consider why adolescents (especially white males) are attracted to destructive music and the impact on their psychological and social development. Center on Media and Child Health
Keywords: Adolescent Attitudes
Death and Dying (Media Content)
Gender Differences
Homicide (Media Content)
Junior High School Students
Racial Differences
Rock Music
Rural Areas
Suicide (Media Content)
Urban Areas
Violence (Media Content)



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