Washington: Teens involved in activities such as music, drama and painting after school may become more depressed or sadder than peers who are not so inclined, says a new study. While girls were more likely to take part in the arts after school and reported somewhat greater degree of blues than boys, the study found that both boys and girls involved in arts reported more depressive symptoms than those who were not involved in these extracurricular activities, according to a Boston statement.
"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 Laura N. Young, from Boston College, who led the study. "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," added Young, the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts reports.
Teens involved exclusively in sports were the least likely to report depressive symptoms. However, there was no difference in depressive symptoms between teens involved in the arts who also did sports and teens involved in the arts who did not also participate in sports. This suggests that arts participation rather than a lack of sports participation was linked with depression, the authors said.
Researchers looked at US teens' involvement in art activities in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 using data from the US. Longitudinal Survey of Youth, collected from 2,482 students aged between 15 and 16 years.