High School Popularity Could Hinder Your Adult Mental Health. Here’s How.

High school can be tough. Whether you’re simply trying to keep your grades up or managing a heavy load of extracurricular activities, being a teen can get pretty hectic.

This doesn’t even include feeling the need to fit in with your peers—and, perhaps, your hopes of climbing the high school social hierarchy.

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Despite what you might believe, being one of the cool kids may not be all that beneficial—especially when it comes to your mental health and future relationships as an adult. Here’s why…

Your Teen Friendships Play A Role In Adulthood


Winning the popularity contest in high school may be every teen’s dream, but those who have fewer bonds that are stronger end up benefiting more in the long run. A recent study has proven that the friendships you form in high school have a distinct impact on your mental health as an adult.

Having only a couple close friends may make you a more confident, self-accepting 20-something. Quality over quantity, my friends.

Findings From A Decade-Long Adolescent Study…

The Odyssey Online

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia followed 169 adolescents from age 15 to 25. The subjects chosen were from all different backgrounds, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses.

Researchers checked with each test subject annually regarding their friendships and overall mental health, such as feelings of anxiety, depression, and self-worth. The friends of the test subjects were also interviewed regarding their view on the bond they shared.

The study found that the subjects who had a close-knit group of a few friends at age 15 were shown to have a better state of mental health at age 25. The individuals that were considered more popular at the age of 15 experienced more social anxiety as an adult, revealing that being on the homecoming court may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Happiness Lies In More Meaningful Friendships

Huffington Post

The findings? Friendships you build in your younger years may affect you more than originally thought. It turns out that being popular is definitely not everything.

“Being well-liked by a large group of people cannot take the place of forging deep, supportive friendships,” stated Joseph Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and co-author of the study.

Although the study was rather small, other research has shown that adolescent friendships, and close bonds in general, can keep you happy and your mental health in good shape.

Don’t worry about having everyone on your side—if you have a few close friends that have your back, you will benefit well past graduation.

h/t: Huffington Post