Adolescents who liked heavy metal music were compared to those who did not on a variety of outcome variables, particularly focusing on reckless behavior. Boys who liked heavy metal music reported a higher rate of a wide range of reckless behavior, including driving behavior, sexual behavior, and drug use. They were also less satisfied with their family relationships. Girls who liked heavy metal music were more reckless in the areas of shoplifting, vandalism, sexual behavior, and drug use, and reported lower self-esteem. Both boys and girls who liked heavy metal music were higher in sensation seeking and more self-assured with regard to sexuality and dating. In regression analyses, the relation between reckless behavior and liking heavy metal music was sustained for five out of twelve variables concerning reckless behavior, including three of four among girls, when sensation seeking and family relationships were entered into the equation before liking or not liking heavy metal music.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aaron, S. (1990, March 5). Entering pop music's misogynist world.Chicago Tribune, p. A9.
Arnett, J. (1990a). Drunk driving, sensation seeking, and egocentrism among adolescents.Personal. Individual Diff. 11: 541–546.
Arnett, J. (1990b). Contraceptive use, sensation seeking and adolescent egocentrism.J. Youth Adolesc. 19, 171–180.
Arnett, J. (1991a). Adolescents and heavy metal music: From the mouths of metalheads.Youth and Society 23: 76–98.
Arnett, J. (1991b). Reckless behavior in adolescence: A developmental perspective.Develop. Rev. in press.
Davis, G. L., and Cross, H. J. (1973). College student drug users' memories of their parents.Adolescence 7: 475–480.
Dembo, R. L., Dertke, M., laVoie, L., and Bonders, S. (1987). Physical abuse, sexual victimization, and illicit drug use: A structural analysis among high risk adolescents.J. Adolesc. 10: 13–34.
Denovan, J. E., Jessor, R., and Costa, F. M. (1988). Syndrome of problem behavior in adolescence: A replication.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 56: 762–765.
Elster, A. B., Lamb, M. E., and Tavare, J. (1987). Association between behavioral and school problems and fatherhood in a national sample of adolescent youths.J. Pediatr. 111: 932–936.
Hansson, R. O., O'Connor, M. E., Jones, W. H., and Blocker, T. J. (1981). Maternal employment and adolescent sexual behavior.J. Youth Adolesc. 101: 55–60.
Jessor, R. (1987). Risky driving and adolescent problem behavior: An extension of problem behavior theory.Alcohol Drugs Driving 3: 1–11.
Johnson, G. M., Shontz, F. C., and Locke, T. P. (1984). Relationships between adolescent drug use and parental drug behavior.Adolescence 19: 295–299.
King, P. (1988). Heavy metal music and drug abuse in adolescents.Postgrad. Med. 83: 295–304.
Levine, E. M., and Kozak, C. (1979). Drug and alcohol use, delinquency, and vandalism among upper middle-class pre- and post-adolescents.J. Youth Adolesc. 8: 91–101.
Martin, L., and Segrave, K. (1988).Anti-Rock: The Opposition to Rock and Roll. Archon Books, New York.
Offer, D., Ostrov, E., and Howard, K. I. (1982).The Offer Self-image Questionnaire for Adolescents. Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, Chicago.
Parents Music Resource Center. (1989, June).Results of Record Labeling Agreement. Available from Parents Music Resource Center, 1500 Arlington Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209.
Riemer, J. W. (1981). Deviance as fun.Adolescence, 16: 39–43.
Rosenberg, M. (1965).Society and the Adolescent Self-image. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Schwarz, R. M., Burkhart, B. R., and Green, B. (1978). Turning on or turning off: Sensation seeking or tension reduction as motivational determinants of alcohol use.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 46: 1144–1145.
Shedler, J., and Block, J. (1990). Adolescent drug use and psychological health: A longitudinal inquiry.Am. Psychol. 45: 612–630.
Spotts, J. V., and Shontz, F. C. (1984). Correlates of sensation seeking by heavy, chronic drug users.Percept. Motor Skills 58: 427–435.
Stern, M., Northman, J. E., and Van Slyck, M. R. (1984). Father absence and adolescent ‘problem behaviors’: Alcohol consumption, drug use, and sexual activity.Adolescence 19: 301–312.
U.S. Department of Education. (1988).Youth Indicators 1988: Trends in the Well-Being of American Youth (DE Publication No. 065-000-00347-3). U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.
Wass, H., Raup, J. L., Cerullo, K., Martel, L. G., Mingione, L. A., and Sperring, A. M. 91988). Adolescents' interest in and views of destructive themes in rock music.Omega 19: 177–186.
Williams, A. F. (1985). Nighttime driving and fatal crash involvement of teenagers.Accident Anal. Prevent. 17: 1–5.
Zuckerman, M. (1979).Sensation Seeking: Beyond the Optimal Level of Arousal. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.
Zuckerman, M., Eysenck, S. B. G., and Eysenck, H. J. (1978). Sensation seeking in England and America: Cross-cultural, age, and sex comparisons.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 46: 139–149.
Zuckerman, M., Tushup, R., and Finner, S. (1976). Sexual attitudes and experience: Attitude and personality correlates and changes produced by a course in sexuality.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 44: 7–19.
Received Ph.D. from University of Virginia. Research interests include adolescent musical preferences, reckless behavior, and socialization.
About this article
Cite this article
Arnett, J. Heavy metal music and reckless behavior among adolescents. J Youth Adolescence 20, 573–592 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01537363
- Heavy Metal
- Regression Analysis
- Sexual Behavior
- Outcome Variable
- Health Psychology