A study published this week says that kids who try to act cool in their early teen years are more likely to have problems with drugs and alcohol when they get older. They also have trouble managing friendships.
Researchers followed almost 200 teens for ten years, interviewing them and their parents. They found that by age 22 the popular group had a 45 percent higher rate of drug related problems. Researchers said this is probably because the cooler kids felt the need to act out more to get attention as they got older and their friends started to see them as immature. Apparently it's the quiet, not-quite-as-cool kids who end up doing well long-term.
Many local residents said that they saw the same things happening in their high schools.
"From my experience, the people that were popular at my high school went on to have problems, especially with psychological disorders and drug use later in life, maybe not even a couple years out of high school," said Sean Rafferty in Marion County.
The researchers said being popular when you're 15 isn't going to doom you for the rest of your life, but it's important for parents to teach their kids that too much focus on appearances and popularity is unhealthy in the long-term.