Q. Three of our four children are readers. The fourth child prefers to listen to contemporary music. Strangely enough, this fourth child is the least happy of all the children and I don’t understand this.
A. Based on the results of a study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, teenagers who spend more time reading books (than listening to contemporary music) seem to experience less depression than those who spend their time listening to contemporary music rather than reading. (I don’t know what that says about contemporary music—although some of the lyrics I’ve heard lately are pretty sad.) Researchers found that the teenagers who spent the most time listening to music were 8.3 times more likely to have a major depressive disorder than those who spent the least amount of time listening to contemporary music. This is a case of which came first: the chicken or the egg? Is the item under discussion causative or just correlative? It may be that a teenager who already feels depressed may zone out listening to contemporary music as compared with a teenager who is not feeling depressed and enjoys reading, hard copy or electronic. Nevertheless, it might be a wise choice to take your child to his or her physician for an evaluation.