Study Proves '80s Metalheads Turned Out Just Fine

This Is Spinal Tap
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Christopher Guest in "This Is Spinal Tap" in 1984.

Check back later to see how '90s nü metal kids and '00s emo kids are doing.

If you spent the '80s skipping class, smoking behind the school dumpsters and listening to Slayer, a new study suggests those were actually good life choices.

The article is called "Three Decades Later: The Life Experiences and Mid-Life Functioning of 1980s Heavy Metal Groupies, Musicians, and Fans" and it ran recently in the International Society for Self and Identity's journal. It found that the '80s metalheads in question "were significantly happier in their youth, and better adjusted currently" than fans of other genres. 

The research team headed by Humboldt State University psychologist Tasha Howe found that although metal fans may have indulged in risky behavior, having the support and camaraderie of a tight-knit subculture gave them an often overlooked advantage over their peers. 

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"Social support is a crucial protective factor for troubled youth," the article points out. "Fans and musicians alike felt a kinship in the metal community, and a way to experience heightened emotions with like-minded people."

Furthermore, the proceedings found that fans of other genres were actually more likely to seek counseling for emotional problems. 

The study examined 154 adults who grew up as metal fans in the 1980s compared to 80 of their peers who listened to different music that decade, as well as 153 current college students in California. All parties were questioned about their childhood experiences and current happiness levels.

However, report admitted that the results could have been skewed by the fact that most of those involved in the study were "relatively high functioning individuals." So in other words, those who made the really bad life choices usually aren't the ones lining up to be studied by a scholarly journal. 

The full article is available here.