Teens involved in arts likelier to be depressed
Teens who participate in after-school arts activities such as music, drama and painting are more likely to battle depression than students who are not involved in these programs, according to new research.
"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 study has been published online in APA's journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.