Music as a ‘friend in need’ An investigation of music preferences as moderators in the relationship between low social support and life satisfaction
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The current study introduces the idea that certain types of music could be like a ‘friend in need’ and protect adolescents from the negative impact of low social support on life satisfaction (LS). First, the relationships between music preference (1), as well as family/peer support (2) and LS are investigated. Then, six music preference categories (Metal, Rock, Electronic, Pop, Urban, and Highbrow) are examined as moderators of the relationships between family and peer support and LS (3), scrutinizing potential gender differences (4). Data were used from the Dutch HBSC study (2013), and the sample consisted of 5682 students, aged 10–18. As expected, the relationship between preference for Pop and LS was positive, whereas the one between preference for Metal and LS was negative. Unlike Metal, preference for Rock was not associated with lower LS, which highlights the importance of examining the two music genres separately in music-related research. As predicted, both peer and family support were related to higher LS. Furthermore, Urban was found to be a potential ‘friend in need’: when peer support was low, Urban fans reported higher LS than non-Urban fans did. Finally, gender did not influence the relationships among music preference, social support, and LS.