High School comes at a time in people's life when they are going through both physical and emotional changes. These changes can become cumbersome to be dealt and many teenagers do not feel comfortable sharing their experiences with their parents. At this juncture, close friends provide the greatest support and upliftment when needed. The equation one shares with their friends or peers is greatly relevant in molding the high school experience of that person. However, a new research indicates that the quality of friendships in high school may also have a deeper impact on the later years on a person's life.


What is the study about?

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia, looked at a sample of 169 adolescents over a period of 10 years of their lives, starting from they were 15 years old and ending when they turned 25. The researchers made it a point to make the sample as diverse as possible in terms of race, socioeconomic background, and ethnicity. For the study, the participants included 58 percent Caucasian, 29 percent African-American, and the remaining belonging to mixed race or ethnicities.

The average income of the families to which the adolescents belonged to range from around $40,000 to $60,000 per year. Each of the participants were evaluated annually through oral interviews, where the researchers asked them to name their best friends and the equation that they shared with their best friends. The researchers also quizzed them on feelings such as anxiety, social acceptance, and even symptoms of depression. High quality friendship was deemed to be those relationships where the participant and the friend had a close attachment with each other and also had intimate exchanges amongst themselves.


What the results revealed?

Researchers found that those adolescents who reported having a strong bond with their best friends were also likely to grow up to have greater self-confidence. These people also showed the least number of signs of depression and Social Anxiety. However, the same is not true for those adolescents who were popular in high school, regardless of whether they managed close friendships or not. The research revealed that popular high school kids grew up to have the highest amount of social anxiety as compared to others.

Researchers also indicated that popularity and creating strong friendships are two completely different attributes. The people who forged a strong bond with friends may not be as popular in school as some other teens who excel at being popular. These kids on the other hand are often devoid of a true best friend relationship. Thus, the study proves that strong friendship in high school helps people to stay mentally healthy, even in later life.