Whatever Happened to the Cool Kids? asks a University of Virginia study. If “cool” is defined as “pseudomature behavior — ranging from minor delinquency to precocious romantic involvement,” then the answer is not so well. At 23, they’re more likely to have trouble with relationships, alcohol and drugs and run-ins with the law.
The ex-cool kids even rate lower in social competence, notes CNN.
To measure coolness, students were asked about their romantic behavior, including how many people they “made out” with. They were asked how many times they had damaged or destroyed property belonging to parents, sneaked into a movie without paying, stolen items from parents or family members, and whether they had used drugs and/or marijuana.
They were also asked how important it was for them to be popular with a lot of different kinds of kids, how attractive their closest friends were, and whom they would most likely spend time with on a Saturday night.
As young adults, to measure social competence, they were asked to describe how well they get along with friends, acquaintances and boyfriends or girlfriends, and whether romantic relationships ended because of concerns that their partner was viewed as not popular enough or not part of the cool crowd.
Jennifer Alsip of Robinson, Texas, was in the “cool group” all through school, she told CNN. “I was there to socialize.” Now struggling financially — ironically, she works trying to collect delinquent student loans — she tells her daughters to “be the bookworm.”