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      Depictions of psychopathology and mental health issues in music: themes and musical genres

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          Introduction. In previous communications we have proposed that the analysis of cultural products related to art, and music in particular, can inform us about the social representations of psychiatry and mental illness. This topic is not irrelevant to our clinical practice, since it favors a better understanding about what are the meanings of our profession and its scope of practice for our patients and general population. In this work, we focused on portrayals of psychopathology in music and the musical genres associated.

          Objectives. By exploring studies addressing depictions of mental disorders or mental health concerns in music, we intend: - to assess the distribution of psychopathological themes alluded; and - to characterize the most studied musical genres that are associated to portrayals of mental disorders or mental health concerns.

          Methods. Starting from a previous systematic review of studies addressing depictions of mental disorders or mental health issues in music, thirty-seven articles are examined. Frequency of portrayed themes and musical genres associated are presented.

          Results/Conclusion. As we can expect, references to substance use in music are the most frequently studied. Studies addressing references to 'madness' in music are frequent too, but in a lesser extent. Other mental health issues depicted are: affective disorders; suicide; sexuality and gender; personality disorders; self-destructive behavior; resilience; as well as general links between music and mental illness/psychiatry. Studies addressing substance use are mostly focused on multiple genres (based in popularity rankings). With regards substance use, Rap and Rock are two genres specifically studied. Links between country music, alcohol use and suicide have been described in literature. Rock and Opera are the genres more frequently associated with references to 'madness'.

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          Author and article information

          ScienceOpen Posters
          22 January 2021
          [1 ] University of Murcia, The International School of Doctoral Studies, Spain / University of Otago Wellington, Suicide and mental health research group, New Zealand
          [2 ] Independent Researcher, Spain
          [3 ] Department of History and Sciences of Music, University of Granada, Spain
          [4 ] Docent Unit of History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Murcia, Spain

          This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .

          All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).

          Medicine, Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry, Communication & Media studies

          social imaginary, medicine in the arts, psychiatry, culture, mental health, depictions


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