There is no shortage of high school movies that stress the dangers of peaking in high school. In fact, most of these flicks end by showing “the popular kids” getting what they deserve and settling into a life of mediocrity.
It turns out that Hollywood might not be entirely off base, at least according to a recent study published in Child Development.
The study tracked 175 people from age 13 to 23, and reveals that people who were considered popular among peers in their early teens had a less than stellar reputation later on in life.
Health Day reports:
The study team found that 13-year-olds who sought maturity, had early romantic relationships, placed a premium on social status and pretty people, and acted out in a sometimes delinquent manner were, indeed, routinely described by peers as cool and popular.
But, by the time they reached their 20s, the same people were often characterized as decidedly uncool, and even socially incompetent.
It would appear that more destructive behaviors are considered cool at an earlier age, so it seems only natural that they would result in a lack of maturity later on in life.
However, Joseph P. Allen, the primary author of the study, stressed that while his research suggested a general pattern, it was nowhere near a solid metric in predicting the future:
[People who] continue to seek popularity by trying to act cool, rather than learning to be a good friend [or] honesty are indeed going to have trouble. But one can get off this track at any time.
We’ll be eagerly awaiting a follow-up report investigating how the “weird kids” end up turning out.
via Health Day