Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Teens involved in arts activities report more depressive symptoms than teens not involved in the arts

Date:
November 20, 2012
Source:
American Psychological Association (APA)
Summary:
Teens who participate in after-school arts activities such as music, drama and painting are more likely to report feeling depressed or sad than students who are not involved in these programs, according to new research.

Teens who participate in after-school arts activities such as music, drama and painting are more likely to report feeling depressed or sad than students who are not involved in these programs, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

This is the first study to find that young people's casual involvement in the arts could be linked to depressive symptoms, according to the researchers. The article was published online in APA's journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

"This is not to say that depression is a necessary condition for either a teen or an adult to become an artist, nor are we showing that participating in the arts leads to mental illness," said lead author Laura N. Young, MA, of Boston College. "However, previous research has revealed higher rates of mental illness symptoms in adult artists. We were interested in whether this association is present earlier in development."

While girls were more likely to take part in the arts after school and reported somewhat higher rates of depression than boys, the study found that both boys and girls involved in arts reported more depressive symptoms than those who were not involved in extracurricular arts activities.

Teens involved exclusively in sports were the least likely to report depressive symptoms. However, there was no difference in depressive symptoms between teens involved in the arts who also did sports and teens involved in the arts who did not also participate in sports. This suggests that arts participation rather than a lack of sports participation was associated with depression, the authors said.

The researchers looked at American teenagers' involvement in extracurricular activities in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 using data from the U.S. Longitudinal Survey of Youth collected from 2,482 students 15 to 16 years old. Of the sample, 1,238 were female, 27 percent were black, 19 percent were Hispanic and 54 percent were non-Hispanic whites.

The students responded to survey questions asking how often they participated in "lessons in music, art or drama, or practice of music, singing, drama, drawing/painting" and "going to sports lessons, playing sports or practicing any physical activity" after school. Answers could range from "often" to "almost never," the study said.

To determine rates of depressive symptoms, the survey asked teens how often they experienced various moods or problems associated with depression, such as poor appetite, difficulty concentrating, downcast mood, lack of energy or motivation, restless sleep and sadness. Their answers could range from "none of the time" to "all of the time."

As for why there appears to be a link between the arts and symptoms of mental illness, one theory the authors presented is that people drawn to the arts may have certain cognitive traits, such as taking in a higher than average level of information from their surroundings. While dealing with excessive stimuli could lead to general distress and depression, a heightened awareness of self and surroundings could lead to greater creativity and artistic expression, the authors said. Personality traits such as introversion, which has been linked to depression, could also lead to preferences for more solitary activities that are more likely to be associated with practice of the arts than with sports, they said.

"When positive behaviors such as being involved in the arts are associated with symptoms of mental illness, it's essential that we understand why," said Young. "Further research can address the question of whether potential psychological vulnerabilities can be transformed into strengths through the practice of the arts."

Article: "Heightened Incidence of Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents Involved in the Arts;" Laura N. Young, MA ; Ellen Winner, PhD; and Sara Cordes, PhD; Boston College; Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, online Nov. 12, 2012.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/aca-ofp-young.pdf

________________________________________ The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 137,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

________________________________________

www.apa.org

If you do not want to receive APA news releases, please let us know at public.affairs@apa.org or 202-336-5700.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association (APA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laura N. Young, Ellen Winner, Sara Cordes. Heightened Incidence of Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents Involved in the Arts.. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2012; DOI: 10.1037/a0030468

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association (APA). "Teens involved in arts activities report more depressive symptoms than teens not involved in the arts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120121809.htm>.
American Psychological Association (APA). (2012, November 20). Teens involved in arts activities report more depressive symptoms than teens not involved in the arts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120121809.htm
American Psychological Association (APA). "Teens involved in arts activities report more depressive symptoms than teens not involved in the arts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120121809.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Mental, Neurological Disabilities Up 21% Among Kids

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) New numbers show a decade's worth of changes in the number of kids with disabilities. They suggest mental disabilities are up; physical ones are down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Fake Weed Wreaks Havoc In New Hampshire

Newsy (Aug. 17, 2014) New Hampshire's governor declared a state of emergency after more than 40 overdoses of synthetic marijuana in one week throughout the state. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins