Relationships Among Personality, Musical Performance Genres, And The Use Of Substances Both Licit And Illicit Essay

This paper is a study regarding the relationships among personality, musical performance genres, and the use of substances both licit and illicit. The authors made three hypothesis’. First, substance abuse patterns would differ among genres (Miller and Quigley). Second, sensation seeking would be positively associated with the intense/rebellious and energetic/rhythmic dimensions of musical performance (Miller and Quigley). Third, women and men vary in their patterns of substance use (Miller and Quigley).

It has been long assumed in popular cultural imagery that “musicians routinely use both licit and illicit substances for recreational purposes, to enhance creativity or to cope with their artistic lifestyle” (Miller and Quigley). Musicians are a population often stereotypically linked to a wide range of substance use behaviours. It Is believed that “the perception of widespread among musicians was particularly common among rock/alternative/R&B musicians (57%) and jazz/blues musicians (42%) but considerably less so among classical (21%) and church/gospel performers” (Miller and Quigley). Alcohol and marijuana served as a source of creative inspiration and celebration, and as a way to promote group bonding with team members or the audience. In addition, illicit drug use “may also provide an informal means of self-medication for less common, but more severe dysfunctions which sometimes accompany artistic creativity, such as schizophrenic or affective disorders” (Miller and Quigley). To test their hypothesis a hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the simultaneous effects of sensation-seeking and performance genres. The sample participants consisted of “226 professional or amateur musicians who completed a one hour self- administered questionnaire about their musical backgrounds, personality, and self-image, and lifestyles” (Miller and Quigley), ages 18-45 and of the 226, 60% was male.

The second method was a True/False Zuckerman-Kulman Personality Questionnaire, followed by a short test of musical preferences. The findings suggested that alcohol was the number one drug for most participants in the sample. Men reported higher rates of substance use than women, and substance use by musicians appeared to be more compared to the general population (Miller and Quigley).This study offers a valuable source for my topic as it concludes that certain genres and genders seems to reinforce substance use, as indicated by our findings that alcohol and/or marijuana use in practice and performance contexts vary considerably. There are several limitations of this study in that, the sample was not randomly selected and cannot be considered representative of all musicians or young adults and no non-musicians included in the sample.

Popular music exposure is increasing among young people, and the purpose of this study was to “perform a comprehensive content analysis of substance use in contemporary popular music” (Primack et al.). The authors analyzed the 279 most popular songs of 2005 from Billboard and used an algorithm that integrates data from sales and airplay to determine the top songs according to exposure (Primack et al). Substance use depicted in popular music is commonly motivated by peer acceptance and sex, and has highly positive associations and consequences. 116 of the 279 songs had a substance use reference and alcohol was most frequent. The motivations for substance use were peer/social pressure, sexual, and financial.

In terms of motivations, “Sexual were most common in R&B/hip-hop and rap songs, mood management in rock, pop, and country, financial motivations in rap and R&B/hip hop songs, and addiction/craving in rock songs” (Primack et al.) Music is known to be highly related to personal identity as young people are influenced by musicians in terms of dress, character, and behaviour. Through this study, it is evident that different genres portray different substances, amounts of substances, and motivations for associations with, and consequences of use. The limitations of this particular study is that they only examined 279 popular songs, it is possible that the more popular songs contain more references to alcohol, and the focus was on 1 year of popular music.

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