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Friday, October 1, 2010

Teens Use Drugs and Alcohol for Popularity

Teenagers struggle with many things on the road to becoming an adult; the teenage years in many cases are about rebellion, social acceptance, and trying new things - even if they are bad or unhealthy. A number of teenagers try drugs for the first time so that they will be accepted amongst their peers, being "cool" is often about following the pack - saying 'no' can be trying  for teenagers. A new study done by the University of Montreal found that teens do drugs to be cool more than they do for emotional issues or for rebellion. "Our study highlights a correlation between popularity and consumption," says Jean-Sébastien Fallu, lead researcher and professor at the Université de Montréal's School of Psychoeducation. "The teenagers we studied were well-accepted, very sensitive to social codes, and understood the compromises that it takes to be popular".

The new study tracked the consumption of alcohol, marijuana and hard drugs of 500 French-speaking teenagers at three different stages of their lives. At ages 10 to 11, 12 to 13 and 14 to 15, researchers took into consideration the test subject's level of popularity and their friends. As the teenagers got older their consumption increased regardless of how "cool" they were, but, those teens who were considered more popular used drugs and alcohol more. Researchers saw an increase between ages 10 and 15 for the most popular kids whose friends were also popular, although, they did not see the same results with popular teens whose friends were not as popular as them.

"Teenagers don't consume to belong to the group or to increase their popularity level, they do it to remain well-liked", says Fallu. "It's more about keeping their status than increasing it." Even if a teen is not popular they are still at risk with drugs and alcohol.

What do you think of this study? We would like to hear from you.

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