A new study shows a strong, early penchant for gothic, punk, heavy metal and hardcore dance music can be a predictor of teens who will go astray.

Lovers of “deviant” music by age 12 were “more engaged in minor delinquency in late adolescence”, the four-year study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found. The bad behaviour – which includes shoplifting, vandalism, fighting and graffiti spraying – peaks about 16 then falls away.

By contrast, pre-teens whose playlists feature mainstream pop, jazz and classical music don’t experience the same taste for trouble.

The study of 309 teens is the first to directly link the rebellious music preferences of a 12 year old with behaviour at age 16. But it may be the peers who gravitate to the same subculture which spark the delinquent behaviour.

“Music is the medium that separates mainstream youth from young people who may more easily adopt norm-breaking behaviours,” the study, headed by Dr Tom ter Bogt from Utrecht University, in Holland, found.

“In peer groups characterised by their deviant music taste, norm-breaking youth may ‘infect’ their friends with their behaviours.”

Previous studies have found fans of different genres gravitate toward different risky behaviour such as speeding, alcohol and drug use.

via How a teen’s iPod can tell you if they will be trouble | News.com.au.