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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.
In this article, we explore the link between a particular form of popular music (country music) and metropolitan suicide rates. We contend that the themes found in country music foster a suicidal mood among people already at risk of suicide and that it is thereby associated with a high suicide rate. The effect is buttressed by the country subculture and a link between this subculture and a racial status related to an increased suicide risk.
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