Cool kids popular in school may experience problems as adults

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Being ‘cool’ at school may not always be a good thing, researchers have warned, as study has shown that popular kids often experience problems as adults.

A University of Virginia study has suggested that kids acting ‘cool’ at school are at risk of range of difficulties as adults including alcohol and drug abuse issues as well as being involved in crime. One of the reasons, researchers say, is that as time passes by these ‘cool’ kids end up opting for more and more extreme behaviours to make themselves appear cool to other kids.

This, the researchers say, makes them involved with more serious criminal behaviour, and alcohol and drug abuse as adolescence progressed. As time passe by, these ‘cool’ kids appear less competent both socially and otherwise than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood.

For their study, researchers followed 184 teens from age 13 to age 23 and collected information from the teens themselves as well as from their peers and parents. Those getting romantically involved at an early age and hanging out with physically attractive peers were thought to be popular by their peers at age 13.

But the research team found that his particular sentiment faded as time passed by. By 22, kids who were labelled cool earlier, were rated by their peers as being less competent socially and were also more likely to have significant problems with alcohol and drugs, and to have engaged in criminal activities.

The study has been published in the journal Child Development.