The price of popularity: Drug and alcohol consumption

Sep 28, 2010

The consumption of drugs and alcohol by teenagers is not just about rebellion or emotional troubles. It's about being one of the cool kids, according to a study by led by researchers at the Université de Montréal.

"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 we studied were well-accepted, very sensitive to social codes, and understood the compromises that it takes to be popular."

Link between popularity, friends and consumption

The study, which is to be published during the next year as part of a collective work, was conducted on more than 500 French- speaking students at three separate moments of their lives: at ages 10 to 11, 12 to 13 and 14 to 15. It took into consideration the popularity of the child and their friends and tracked their consumption of alcohol, marijuana and hard drugs.

The findings showed an increase in consumption, as the child got older regardless of their popularity level. However, the more popular a child and their friends were, the greater this consumption was. There was a two-fold between increase between ages 10 and 15 for the most popular kids who also had very popular friends. However, this trend did not apply to popular kids whose friends were not as popular.

Maintaining popularity

The results suggest that popular teenagers are more at risk if their friends are also considered popular. "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."

Teenagers who aren't considered popular are obviously also at risk of other deviant behaviors. However, other studies have shown that they are more inclined to develop violent behaviors than consume or drugs.

Explore further: New Dominican law OKs abortion if life at risk

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

From music to sports: Autonomy fosters passion among kids

Feb 03, 2010

Parents take heed: children and young adults are more likely to pursue sports, music or other pastimes when given an opportunity to nurture their own passion. According to a three-part study led by Genevičve Mageau, ...

Disclosing sexual abuse is critical

Jan 19, 2010

Half of sexual abuse survivors wait up to five years before disclosing they were victimized, according to a collaborative study from the Université de Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montréal ...

Energy drinks: The coffee of a new generation?

Feb 06, 2009

It's not uncommon for students to consume energy drinks to increase their concentration as they study throughout the night. "Energy drinks are the coffee of a new generation," says Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist ...

Exploration in toddlers activated by fathers

Mar 31, 2010

A new study has found that fathers give toddlers more leeway and that allows them to actively explore their environments, according to a new study on parent-child attachment published in Early Child Development and Care.

Insomnia is bad for the heart

Sep 04, 2009

Can't sleep at night? A new study published in the journal Sleep has found that people who suffer from insomnia have heightened nighttime blood pressure, which can lead to cardiac problems. The investigation, which measur ...

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

23 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

Dec 19, 2014

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Quantum_Conundrum
not rated yet Sep 28, 2010
Yeah. Complete insanity.

"I shall drink and smoke poison, because if I don't I might lose my friends, who are also insane."
JRDarby
1 / 5 (1) Oct 20, 2010
Says the creationist...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.