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Gifted Students Beat the Blues With Heavy Metal

Gifted students who feel the pressure of their ability could be using Heavy Metal music to get rid of negative emotions.

This is the conclusion of Stuart Cadwallader and Professor Jim Campbell of The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth at the University of Warwick.  They will discuss their findings at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference at the University of York on Wednesday 21 March 2007.

1, 057 students aged between 11 and 18 years old completed a survey which asked them about family, school attitudes, leisure time pursuits and media preferences.  They also asked them to rank favoured genres of music.

They found that rock was the most popular form of music, closely followed by pop.  But there were also differences between the type of music the young people liked and their attitudes – with those who liked Heavy Metal having lower self-esteem and ideas about themselves. 

To find out why this was, the researchers then quizzed 19 gifted students via an online group interview to find out their views on Heavy Metal. 

These pupils said they did not consider themselves to be ‘Metalheads’ but identified with specific aspects of this youth culture.

They spoke specifically about using Heavy Metal for catharsis, literally using the loud and often aggressive music to jump out frustrations and anger.   Although the more ardent fans stated that ‘there’s Metal out there for every occasion’, many also stated they listen to the music when they are in a bad mood.

Mr Cadwallader said: “Perhaps the pressures associated with being gifted and talented can be temporarily forgotten with the aid of music.  As one student suggests, perhaps gifted people may experience more pressure than their peers and they use the music to purge this negativity.”

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For further Information please contact:  Alison Rowan, Press Officer, NAGTY on 02476 574905 or 07876 218130 alternatively email: 

The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth was set up by government, at the University of Warwick, to improve provision for gifted and talented children and young people up to the age of 19 years, and to provide guidance, advice and development for teachers. It is the centre of expertise for gifted education in England.

The National Academy’s core infrastructure funding comes from the DfES, with additional funding generated through successful partnerships with businesses, charitable trusts and individuals.  Our ability to meet the full scope and scale of need is contingent on the support we receive.  Visit

 Monday 19 March 2007