The Effects of Country Music on Adolescents

By Christina Knott
Country music has an effect on its listeners — and not just their fashion choices.

Teens spend an average of 2 1/2 hours listening to music per day, according to an article in the New York Times; in addition, 90 percent of youth have an MP3 player or a CD player in their bedroom. With such heavy use, multitudes of researchers have looked into the impact music has on teen behavior. Even country music can have a dark side, according to research reported by the Center for Youth Studies.

Country Music Affects Teens and Adults Similarly

Teenagers and adults had similar reactions to country music in studies.

According to research cited by the Center for Youth Studies, country music has a similar effect on teens as it does adults. So even if you've grown out of your teen years, pay attention to how this genre has been known to make its mark on listeners.

Country Music Increases Suicide Rates

Research reports that country music encourages suicide in some listeners by encouraging more drastic reactions to life challenges.

As country music increases on the airwaves, suicide rates for whites increased, the Center for Youth Studies cites. This is particularly true in metropolitan areas. According to the article, the genre encouraged listeners in the midst of difficult circumstances to consider suicide.

Country Music Encourages Promiscuity

Country music filled with sexual themes can encourage youth to engage in sexual activity, research reports.

Country music that includes content that is heavily sexual has a reactionary effect on listeners, according to research cited by the Center for Youth Studies. Not all country music is explicit, but that which is can encourage early sexual activity. Keep the content of music in mind while listening and consider if the behavior is something you would approve of for yourself.

Negative Messages Aren't Isolated to Country Music

Whatever the genre, music has an affect on behavior, so make sure what you listen to doesn't conflict with your personal values.

Whatever the genre, negative messages in music influence risk behaviors in children, the New York Times article explains. So whether it's an acoustic guitar with a decided twang or an urban beat with lyrically spoken words, the meaning of the message is important. Music that encourages smoking, alcohol use and other actions encourages youth to emulate the habit as well.

About the Author

Christina Knott is an award-winning writer and editor who has worked at daily newspapers since 2007. She has been published in the "Jefferson City News Tribune," "Kansas City Star," "Springfield News-Leader" and "Kerrville Daily Times." Christina has two years experience teaching English overseas and holds a bachelor's degree in journalism.