As you grow older, you'll find that many of the "cool" kids from high school burn out over time. A recent study published by the journal Child Development claims that the kids who go the extra mile to achieve elite social status in high school often struggle during early adulthood.
University of Virginia professor of psychology and lead study author Joseph P. Allen was very direct in saying the harder they go, the harder they fall: "It appears that while so-called cool teens' behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool." Ouch.
Business Insider says the 10-year study tracked 184 students from the ages of 13 to 23. The results are revealing, but unsurprising:
At age 13, those who exhibited "pseudomature behaviors" — a catch-all term for behaviors that seem to boost perceived popularity — were rated as more popular by their peers. The cooler kids impressed their peers through displays of romantic behavior (like kissing or touching), deviant acts (like damaging their parent's property or sneaking into a movie theater without a ticket), or by associating themselves with more physically attractive friends.
As the years went on, however, these antics did not correlate to an increase in popularity. In fact, just the opposite happened. The pseudomature behaviors evolved into larger problems and the status of once-cool individuals dropped: The adolescent who comes to depend upon pseudomature behavior to gain peer status may gradually need to shift, for example, from minor forms of delinquency, such as vandalism and shoplifting, to more serious acts of criminal behavior to impress even a subset of older peers, the authors wrote.
That act is only amusing for so long, as people mature and stop focusing on what's "cool." Those who care too much get left behind: "These previously cool teens appeared less competent—socially and otherwise — than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood," Allen added.
So yeah, sometimes the captain of the football team who was a little too fond of Natty Ice does end up fat, bald and changing your oil. It's sad, but that's life. Live fast, pay the price sooner.
[via Business Insider]
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