Teens who participate in after-school arts activities such as music, drama and painting are more likely to report feeling depressed or sad than students who are not involved in these programs, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.
This is the first study to find that young people’s casual involvement in the arts could be linked to depressive symptoms, according to the researchers. The article was published online in APA’s journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts®.
“This is not to say that depression is a necessary condition for either a teen or an adult to become an artist, nor are we showing that participating in the arts leads to mental illness,” said lead author Laura N. Young, MA, of Boston College. “However, previous research has revealed higher rates of mental illness symptoms in adult artists. We were interested in whether this association is present earlier in development.”