London: Young people belonging to alternative subcultures - such as fans of heavy metal music and goths - are at a greater risk of self-harm and suicide, researchers have found.
Experts conducted a review of 12 English language papers published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology.
The findings reflect the growing concerns over the risks of young people. Suicide is a leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds according to a 2017 report by the WHO.
"The belief that alternative subcultures may be at an increased risk of self-harm and suicide is considered by some to be a myth," said Peter Taylor, a clinical psychologist from The University of Manchester.
"But the literature we reviewed does suggest that these individuals are indeed in greater danger," Taylor said.
"However, this research requires interpretation within the wider context of public concern around alternative subcultures and their impact on the mental health of young people," Taylor said.
"The public and media have at times, unhelpfully, demonised alternative subcultures and music as a cause of problems including self-harm," he said.
"There is not enough evidence to tell us why it is that people belonging to these subcultures are at greater risk," said Mairead Hughes, from The University of Liverpool.
"Young people who have faced more adversity may be more likely to become part of a subculture, but this does not seem to fully explain the increased risk," Hughes said.