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Subst Use Misuse. 2012 Jan;47(2):130-42. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2012.637438.

Dance is the new metal: adolescent music preferences and substance use across Europe.

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Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


This study examined relationships between music preferences and substance use (tobacco, alcohol, cannabis) among 18,103 fifteen-year-olds from 10 European countries. In 2005-2006, across Europe, preferences for mainstream Pop (pop chart music) and Highbrow (classical music and jazz) were negatively associated with substance use, while preferences for Dance (house/trance and techno/hardhouse) were associated positively with substance use. In three countries, links were identified between liking Rock (rock, heavy metal punk/hardcore, and gothic) and substance use; associations between Urban (hip-hop and R&B) and substance use were mixed. No substantial gender differences emerged in these patterns, and controlling for relevant covariates did not attenuate the predictive value of substance use. The findings are consistent with the conclusion that music is a robust marker of adolescent substance use.

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