HIGHSCHOOL POPULARITY FADES FAST: ‘COOL KID’ AT INCREASED RISK OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE

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By: Kathleen Lees

(Photo from scene of Revenge of the Nerds)

Remember that beautiful blonde girl in high school who won prom queen and got a brand new Acura at graduation? Well she’s pregnant and working at the Dollar Store now.

Of course, many have long held onto the notion that being a “cool” part of the student body doesn’t necessarily hold up in the long-run. Yet now, science has the facts to back it up.

A recent study published in the journal Child Development shows that this popularity fades, and wow–it fades fast. In fact, researchers discovered that by around 22, most school celebrities had been denoted to just your average Joe. Worse yet, findings revealed that many were also more likely to encounter issues with substance abuse.

“We call it the high school reunion effect,” says Joseph Allen, a psychologist at the University of Virginia and the study’s lead author, according to NPR. “The student who was popular and was running with the fast crowd isn’t doing as great later on.”

For the study, researchers followed about 180 13-year-olds for a decade. They interviewed the teens as well as their parents and friends. All of the study participants attended urban and suburban public schools in the Southeast .

By about 22, the cool group had a 45 percent higher rate of problems related to alcohol and substance abuse. They were also more likely to have engaged in criminal workings.

Unfortunately, even when examining certain external factors related to geographic region, family income or gender of the participants, the results remained about the same.

Allen says he believes that part of the problem may be that as popular youth grow older, they have to do increasingly extreme things in order to grab the attention of their peers and keep it.

Of course, the vanity of focusing on social hierarchies never fares too well in the end.

“The quiet, not-so-cool kids do well in the long term,” Allen says. “I would say I was part of the not-so-cool kids.”

Continue Reading: scienceworldreport.com

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