Compare and contrast

The original story in New Scientist:

Goth subculture may protect vulnerable children

About half of teenage goths have deliberately harmed themselves or attempted suicide, a new study suggests. But joining the modern subculture – which grew out of the 1980s gothic rock scene – may actually protect vulnerable children, researchers say.

The respun story on BBC News:

Goths ‘more likely to self-harm’

Teenage Goths are more likely to self-harm than those in other social groups, a study has found.


The Glasgow study found that belonging to the Goth subculture – as 25 people did – was strongly associated with a lifetime risk of self harm (53%) and attempted suicide (47%).

The Independent then spins further:

Teenage ‘goths’ are four times more likely to self-harm

Teenage goths are more likely to self-harm than any other youth culture group, a study has found.

Rates of self-harm among goths under the age of 19 are almost four times higher than for other young people of the same age.

Not only do they say the same thing three times over to increase the emphasis, they also omit any reference to the possibility that self-harming kids might be more likely to be attracted to goth thus explaining the statistic, or that the community might actually protect them.

That’s probably why MedPage Today is now trying to combat hysteria by starting with two action points:

  • Explain to parents that this study did not determine whether Goth culture leads to self-destructive behavior or whether adolescents with those tendencies gravitate to Goth.

  • Advise parents that the researchers suggested that rather than posing a risk, Goth culture may offer young people valuable social and emotional support from their peers.

It’ll be interesting—or perhaps horrifying—to see how this plays out once the even-less-reputable news outlets pick it up.