Rather than funding, say, AIDs research or surveying the effects of climate change on poverty, Oxford University decided it would spend its money studying whether teenagers who identify with Goth culture were more or less likely to be depressed than those who didn't.
Yes, you read that right.
From the Guardian:
Teenagers who identify as goths have a three times higher risk of depression than non-goth peers, researchers have said.
But they could not be sure whether it was depression leading young people to join the subculture – most readily identified by its members’ black clothes and make-up – or being caused by it.
“Our study does not show that being a goth causes depression or self-harm but rather that some young goths are more vulnerable to developing these conditions,” said Lucy Bowes from Oxford University, lead author of the study.
In a years-long study of more than 2,300 British teens Bowes and a team found that 15-year-olds who identified very strongly with goth subculture were three times more likely than their non-goth peers to be clinically depressed by age 18.
They were also five times more likely to physically harm themselves, the researchers reported in The Lancet Psychiatry.
After all that effort looking into whether those who identified with a sub-culture associated with death, horror literature, and eternal loneliness, the authors of the study didn't even find out whether being a Goth causes depression or is a result of it.
I hereby donate the next 15 seconds of my time clearing up this issue for the researchers:
Those prone to depression are more likely to identify with Goth culture, and once involved in this culture alongside other depressed Goths, depression can get worse.
I know this because I am a human being who has lived around other human beings for a while.