Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Study Warns Tuning Out to Music Could Signal Depression in Tweens

A study was just published in the "Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine" that found a link between passive media habits, such as tuning out to t.v. and music, and "major depressive disorder" in tweens and tweens.

The authors are quick to point out that this does NOT mean that tweens should not listen to music, or that tweens who listen to a lot of music are depressed. But they did find that tweens and teens who were depressed opted to listen to music and tune-out using "passive media" whereas kids who consumed media actively (for example, reading or actively engaging in phone conversations) tended not to suffer from depression. The study found that: "The group that reported the most reading, for example, had a 90% lower risk of being depressed than the group that reported reading the least."

Dr. Primack from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was one of the primary authors of the study, and said, “We sort of thought to ourselves that when you have depression, your brain is not working properly. So it’s much harder to sit down to a book and have to use a lot of the frontal lobe of your brain to create the story and the characters in your head, whereas, it should be quite easy to flop down in front of a television and turn on whatever’s there.”

The key takeaway is to watch for how much your tween zones out using various media; listening to music for hours on end and an inability to read for a length of time may be signs of depression.

Note: MsTwixt does not have a membership to JAMA,  so we could not access the entire study. The abstract can be viewed for free here.

Source: The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, WebMD

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