A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

Friends in High School Impact Mental Health Later

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Remember your best high school pals? Maybe you still keep in touch – or maybe not.  A new study shows those friendships you made in high school could have a lasting impact on your mental health.

Friends are a big deal in high school and new research shows the type of friendships teens make could affect their mental health later on. Investigators studied a sample of 169 adolescents from the time they were 15 until they reached age 25. Results showed teens who had closer, high-quality friendships at age 15 had a higher sense of self-worth at age 25. On the other hand, kids who prioritized popularity had higher levels of social anxiety as adults.

To help your teen make close friendships, have them think about what qualities are important in a friend. Make sure they feel comfortable inviting friends over to your house and give them space if they do. Also encourage your teen’s close friendships even if you feel they are overly focused on them. Teens are doing the right thing by cultivating connections. Finally, let them know they don’t have to be friends with everyone; sometimes it’s quality over quantity.

In this study, high-quality friendships were defined as relationships with a degree of attachment and support that allowed for intimate exchanges.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

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