Those friends you had in high school may have had a far bigger impact on your adulthood than you realized, claims a new study out of the University of Virginia. Researchers who followed 169 teens over a period of 10 years, from 15 years of age to the mid-twenties, found that people who had deep friendships with a few people were less likely to experience social anxiety much later down the road.
Further, the study found that people who were popular in high school were much more likely to experience social anxiety and depression compared to those who had just a few friends, indicating that the quality of friendships is much more important than the quantity of people who liked you in high school.
In addition, those who had close friendships in their teens tended to view themselves much more highly by age 25 and were less susceptible to depression.
"Our research found that the quality of friendships during adolescence may directly predict aspects of long-term mental and emotional health," according to Rachel K. Narr, PhD candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Virginia, who led the study, as quoted in a statement from the Society for Research in Child Development. "High school students with higher-quality best friendships tended to improve in several aspects of mental health over time, while teens who were popular among their peers during high school may be more prone to social anxiety later in life."
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