Being “Cool” Can Have Long-Term Negative Consequences, Say Psychologists

Being a teenager is tough. From popularity and peer pressure to puberty and college prep, there are a number of stressful situations to navigate. It’s no surprise, then, that many teens turn to drug or alcohol abuse as a way to cope with these stressors or to “fit in.”
New research is suggesting that the “cool” behaviors many teens engage in due to peer pressure — including drinking and drug use — can end up having negative long-term effects far beyond graduation.

How Being Cool Can Spell Bad News

Per the study from Child Development, many “cool” kids continue their deviant behavior into adulthood, continuing to abuse drug and alcohol.

This can lead to difficulty maintaining healthy relationships and run-ins with the law.
Researchers from the University of Virginia found that “adolescent pseudomature behavior,” such as drug and alcohol use and sex, can negatively impact development. Though they may bring short-term rewards such as popularity — 20% of the 184 subjects studied were considered “cool” at its onset — over the next 2 years, their popularity declined.
By the end of the study, when subjects were 23, most of the “cool” kids were struggling with criminal behavior, including marijuana use, and alcohol abuse. Compared to subjects that were not considered “cool,” the popular crowd had more problems with substance abuse.

Why “Cool” Kids?

Researchers theorize that “cool” kids value popularity more than others, meaning they continue to pursue it by maintaining the dangerous behaviors that made them “cool” in the first place. This includes drinking and doing drugs, as well as exploring more criminal behaviors.

Parents: Don’t Let Your Teens Go Down This Path

Are you worried your teen is engaging in dangerous behavior to fit in? Don’t let their short-term goal of popularity lead to lasting deviant behavior. Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City can provide drug and alcohol testing for teens so you can confirm if your teenager has been abusing illegal substances or sneaking into your liquor cabinet.

To get started, call (816) 875-0464 today.

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