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The Link Between Country Music and Suicide

- December 22, 2007

Leaving aside for the moment Lee’s jingoism, his musical taste raises a more serious issue: is country music leading people to kill themselves?

bq. This article assesses the link between country music and metropolitan suicide rates. Country music is hypothesized to nurture a suicidal mood through its concerns with problems common in the suicidal population, such as marital discord, alcohol abuse, and alienation from work. The results of a multiple regression analysis of 49 metropolitan areas show that the greater the airtime devoted to country music, the greater the white suicide rate. The effect is independent of divorce, southernness, poverty, and gun availability. The existence of a country music subculture is thought to reinforce the link between country music and suicide. Our model explains 51% of the variance in urban white suicide rates.”

The article is here. Of course, the correlation vs. causation issue looms, but the article is worth reading if only because you can ponder the ominous undertones in such hits as “There’s Too Much Month at the End of the Money.”

[Hat tip to Sean Aday, via The Frontal Cortex.]