A new study finds that the benefits you receive from a close friendship you had in high school can last for years after the fact.
Even if you don’t keep in touch with that friend from high school, you may still be benefiting from that close friendship years after the fact. A new study by researchers at the University of Virginia claims that friendships in high school can help teens maintain happy and health lives well into adulthood.
In addition, the study found that being popular among peers actually had a negative effect, with teens experiencing more social anxiety as young adults as a result. The findings are based on following 169 teens for 10 years, from when they are 15 until their mid 20s.
The study found that those with close friendships at 15 had less social anxiety and had a higher degree of self-worth. They were also less likely to experience depression by 25 compared to those who were popular, showing that it’s more important to cultivate a few deep friendships than to be well-liked and have a bunch of superficial friendships.
“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. “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.”