# Popular kids are troubled kids?

1. May 17, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I just saw this reported on the local NBC [KGW, Portland] news. Some study [to be located later?] indicates that the more popular a middle-school aged child, the more likely he or she is to drink, use drugs, or have other problems.

This really rung a bell for me. In fact I remember this being obvious.

2. May 17, 2005

### JamesU

I'm in middle school and I noticed that.(I can think of some people that are already on drugs :uhh:

3. May 17, 2005

### Pengwuino

I bet its cuz of the whole 'gotta fit in and be popular and do whats cool' thing. Gotta do drugs and have sex and whatever as soon as possible because its "cool"

4. May 17, 2005

### motai

I have noticed this at a lesser extent in high school. Since peer pressure was always a non-issue for me, I never had the impetus to engage in such behaviour, but not being popular did leave me a little isolated later on in my high school years. I still wouldn't resort to that just to "fit in" because I don't want to associate myself with them anyway. Besides, I fit in perfectly in forums like these... screw high school society and all their cliques and cults :tongue2:.

In middle school I hung out with band geeks. In high school... well I did the same. Keeps us out of trouble, I bet. Doesn't rank very high on the popularity scale.

5. May 18, 2005

### Artman

This begs the question, are popular kids the ones who get coerced into these things, or are they popular because they allow themselves to do these things?

6. May 18, 2005

### The Rev

My guess is, in middle school, the reason they are popular is because they are troubled. The problems drive them to troubled behavior, like drinking, which, in turn, the other kids think is cool because they don't have the "guts" to get that out of line.

$$\phi$$

The Rev

7. May 18, 2005

### Joel

I remember this behaviour well, but I don't think the most popular kids are necessarily the most troubled. Based on my own experience and some odd studies in group-dynamics I'd say the leader(s) of the pack has to be somewhat gifted (ie. not stupid, average in academics, good looking, big, not shy) to receive other's respect. However, I'd say the leader's 'yes-guys' are more likely to have real problems (not just, 'I'm young and want to try new things'-type of problems).

8. May 18, 2005

### brewnog

If you're classing drinking as a "problem" (along with drug-taking), then this seems to figure.

Drinking, and drug taking, are social activities.

9. May 19, 2005

Staff Emeritus
Drinking and drug taking in MIDDLE SCHOOL (7th-8th-9th grade, ages 12-15) are PROBLEMS!

10. May 19, 2005

### bstruck

It's stupid to say that popular kids are troubled kids. Also it is unfair to say that kids who use drugs are troubled kids. At my school some popular kids did drugs and some didn't. What makes a person popular or not is how interesting they are. If someone was incredibly funny, good looking, athletic, or charismatic in any way they tended to be popular. I smoked pot and drank alcohol later on in high school, but I didn't become any more or less popular, because of it. I did these things not for popularity, but because I was curious. I think the kids with the biggest problems are those that think they can boost there popularity by using drugs and alcohol. I still smoke pot and drink and I'm now going to be a junior in college. I ran into the valedictorian and salutatorian (both girls) on new year's and they were drunk, high, and I talked them into making out with each other and some other random girl. In High school they didn't do drugs or drink, but were not social pariahs, because they were interesting people. I think in college they found themselves outcast for not drinking and smoking so they began to drink in order to fit in. They are both doing well in school and are more popular now. I think that they may have problems but they are internal problems that would exist despite there use of drugs and alcohol. Sorry if this is incoherent and rambly I'm kinda high right now.

11. May 19, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I haven't spotted either the study or the original KGW News report, so I just e-mailed the station and asked for assistance.

12. May 20, 2005

### Kenneth Mann

I think that this strikes a chord with all of us. Is it, however because the kids are popular, or does the thing that makes them popular also lead to the trouble - - and that is physical attractiveness? I remember a vivid case from (way back) when I was in grade school. This girl was by far, considered the most attractive, at least back to the third grade. She also had a very considerate and very pleasant disposition. The result was that the worst male elements around were drawn to her like flies (a fitting cliche). She actually attracted almost all the males, however this worst element was the most persistent and the most assertive. They literally crowded out those who were more temperate dispositioned. She didn't have a fair chance.

KM

13. May 20, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
From KGW-TV:

14. May 20, 2005

### brewnog

I hear your sentiment (and share it with regard to drug use), but you must consider the cultural differences between various countries. While the US has a pretty tough stance on alcohol use, this is much less so in the UK. Drinking as part of a family often takes place at an early age, and in most instances teaches youths to respect alcohol, often long before they reach the legal drinking age. This approach is even more notable in many countries in mainland Europe (I'll use France as an example), where the legal drinking age is lower, and where there are long-standing traditions of wine and beer production and consumption.

I know that I'm biased on this matter, but I drank alcohol with my family (a glass of wine with a sunday dinner, for example) at a young age. As a teenager, I drank with my friends, on a sociable basis. It was not alcohol abuse, it was alcohol use. It never did me any harm, and I dare say it did me a lot of good.

I appreciate that many problems (especially with young people) can be related to the use of alcohol, but we must not see alcohol use itself as an indication of a problem.

15. May 21, 2005

### Tinkstar

Ok guys, there has been a tonne of study into these thing re:adolescents/teenagers. One thing is generally agreed, many kids in these age brackets seem to a feel a need to rebel, and often do this through risk-taking behaviour. These behaviours include drinking, drug taking, shoplifting, casual and unsafe sex (some might say any kind of sex), vandalism, skipping school, driving unlicensed, even playing "chicken" on the road (there are more I'm sure). When you think about it, there are probably few people who make it through adolescence without engaging in atleast one of the above, regardless of their popularity.

What should also be noted is that this study (according to the original post) is yet to be completed, and the statement regarding the correlation between popularity, troubled kids, and problem behaviours is purely a hypothesis, that (again according to original post), is yet to be tested.

Furthermore, it should also be acknowledged that there is almost always some theory, and some study that will back up almost any claim, and this is particularly true within the social sciences, as there can never be an always/never answer, these studies may only ever conclude a likely relationship, or increased chance, etc, as when it comes to studying people, there are always anomalies.

:shy: So yeah, going back to these personal anecdotal case studies people have been discussing, at my school in, my year level, (140 students), I think (from my personal observations) that there may only have been a handful (5 maybe) of students that did not engage in these behaviours....ahem...so how is this study defining problem behaviours.... I've noticed a lot of assumptions about drinking and drug taking but is that personal oppinions about problem behaviours or was it stated in the news report. Generally, a behaviour is not considered a problem unless it interferes with daily activities/living a "normal", socially and culturally acceptable life (check out the DSM-IVtr)

16. May 21, 2005

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
I'm not quite sure how you came up with this. I said that I don't have the original paper, and then I cited the journal that published it as per the reporting news agency.

17. Jun 1, 2005

### Kenneth Mann

Yesterday (May 31) I was in my bank, and the TV there was tuned to MSNBC, where pretty much the same was reported. The only thing that I picked up that was possibly different was that they didn't say 'popular', but rather, used the term 'in-group'. Also they mentioned that the main contributing factor to the problem seemed to be 'peer pressure'.

KM

18. Jun 1, 2005

### Pengwuino

My god, i can name... 20 girls from back in high school that this is like a mirror image of their life.