Music does not cause depression

Rewon Shimray | Opinion Editor

In regard to the article “Stop deafening life with your music” in the Oct. 1 issue of the Lariat:

I completely disagree with the article’s statement that music puts students at a higher risk of depression. As well I am concerned about the relevance of the research used in this article to the argument expressed therein. The study referenced in the article’s claim that “With each level increase of music consumption, participants were at an 80% higher risk of depression” cannot be assumed to mean that people who listen to more music are more at risk for depression.

The study of a measly 106 participants, with 46 of those having clinical depression, yielded data saying that more of the individuals who have depression also listen to more music. Here’s the problem: there is no variable represented in the experiment. The consumption level of music was not changed in the process of the study. If the study had examined the overall mood of these 106 individuals within a period of time, with music and without music, with books and without books, only then is it the kind of study that can support the claim that music consumption is directly correlated to levels of depression. However, the study by Dr. Brian Primack is not the right one to support this claim— that more music causes depression. This study simply says that the kind of people who listened to more music experienced more depression, not that they had more depression because they listened to more music.

I am a junior at Baylor and a local musician in Waco. During my time in Waco I’ve been pouring my heart into to developing a culture of music as an expression of the deepest emotions and stories of real people. I believe that music is one of the only things in this world that can truly bypass the chaos of our minds, whether it be stress, or depression, or anger, and make us begin to feel better about things. Each day I try to create music that connects with people in their deepest struggles, to accept the difficulty and overcome it. I find the argument in “Stop deafening life with your music” defeating to my work as a musician and a supporter of Waco’s music culture.

I would appreciate if you, as the editor, would support more positively engaging articles that support a cultural staple like music instead of claiming that something like music is totally bad for you. It seems that today’s articles are characterized by dramatic exaggerations of a partial truth that no data can support. This article might have been better suited as a conversation about two different types of people, those who listen to too much music and those who listen to not enough, those who find their reality in having sounds pumped into their ears and those who use music as an effective tool to understand their world.


James Wallace
Communication specialist major