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Teenagers suffering with social difficulties may face problems later in their lives !!

The period where a young individual has to transition from being a kid to becoming a teenager and then an adult is no easy task. For the mental problems that could come along the way are endless. And only a person who is either going or has gone through this stage knows what it is like to have to walk that scary path of life.

The biggest challenge may be socializing with people whom you realize are much more superior than you and in order to be a part of the gang, you will have to start doing things they do. And if you can't well then you automatically become an outcast. 

Socializing is harder than most people think and it is what happens later to a person has failed in all the possible ways of socializing with their peers. From depression to drugs the list just keeps going on and on. Read on to find out some of the few problems young individuals could come across as they face social difficulties in their life.

Teenager’s social problems contribute to Anxiety and Depression !!

A new research suggested that youngsters who had social problems were likely to develop and anxiety and depression. The research also pointed out that this was more common during the transition from adolescence into young adulthood.

The study

Researchers used data which previously followed a group of 205 individuals from the ages of 8-12 over a period of 20 years into young adulthood. The researchers used detailed interviews with the individuals and reports from their parents, teachers and classmates to create measures of so-called internalizing problems(anxiety, depressed mood, being withdrawn etc) and social competence(Like how well one functioned in relation to other, specially with regard to getting along with others and forming close relationships).

They then examined how this measure is related to each other over time, taking into account the stability of each individual(by assessing the ones with social problems at the beginning for the study till the end)

The results !!

Researchers found that -

  • Young people who had more internalizing problems (like anxiety and depression) at the start of the study were more likely to have those problems in adolescence and young adulthood. 
  • While those who were socially competent at the beginning of the study were socially competent as they grew up.

Another finding showed that social problems contributed to increasing internalizing symptoms over time.

  • Children who were less socially competent in childhood were more likely to have symptoms of anxiety or depressed mood in adolescence.
  • Young people who were also less socially competent in adolescence were at greater risk of symptoms of anxiety and depression into young adulthood.
  • The finding remained the same when the researchers took into account other factors like intellectual functioning, quality of parenting, social class and such problems like fighting, lying and stealing. The results were generally found out to be the same for both males and females.

Researchers conclude that social competence such as acceptance by peers and developing healthy relationships is a key influence in the development of future internalizing problems such as anxiety and depressed mood especially over the transition years from adolescence into young adulthood. 

However, these results also suggested that although internalizing problems had some stability across time, there was also room for intervention and change. Even more specifically, the youth were at risk fir internalizing problems that could benefit them form interventions focused on building healthy relationships with peers.

Boys with social difficulties prone to ear substance abuse !!

A research has found out that young boys who have just entered their sixth grade and face troubles with co-occurring social skills, anxiety, learning and conduct problems are at greatest risk of developing aggressive behavior. Furthermore,  this could also lead them to start using tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana by the end of the eighth grade.

According to one researcher, substance use among all boys in the study population had increased the fastest among boys who had the greatest social skills needs. It cannot be simply attributed to a single factor, a combination of characteristics may predict the teenager’s risk of giving in to or avoiding problematic behaviors.

The study!!

The researchers found four district patterns of co-occurring social-emotional learning and behavioral problems among more than 2600 middle school boys in the study. The boys were students from 37 different schools located across the country.

At four time points, beginning in the fall term of the sixth grade and ending in the spring term of eighth grade, the students were surveyed o their verbal, relational and physical aggression and also their use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana during the prior 30 days.

At each point, the teacher assessed each boy’s social skills development, symptoms of anxiety and learning problems. Teachers also reported on their student’s conduct such as how frequently they skipped classes and stole things from other students.

The results 

Researchers found that boys who had significant problems in all four areas which included social skills, anxiety, learning, and conduct were the most vulnerable to engage in in aggression and substance abuse.

While the group was made up of only 6.3 percent of the study population, previous researches have shown that teenagers with these characteristics were at the greatest risk of the poorest outcomes across their lifespans.

Similarl,y researchers also found that boys who scored well on social, emotional, learning and conduct, a group that composed of more than 61 percent of the sample, showed only a small increase in physical aggression and substance use.

Another risk pattern was observed with boys who had poor social skills, in addition to learning and conduct related problems. Although theses boys entered sixth grade exhibiting the most behavioral problems, their physical and relational aggression and cigarette smoking decreased over time, while their alcohol and marijuana use didn’t vary.

Finally, researchers found a certain distinct risk pattern that was previously unexamined in research pertaining to a group of boys who were probably determined least likely by previous researchers. Boys of this group which composed about 14 % of the sample population had positive social skills but faced moderate problems with learning, anxiety, and conduct.

The conclusion!!

The researchers have concluded by saying that while these boys were socially skilled, their other problems could lead them to increased aggression and substance use as they progressed through middle school.

These teenager’s social skills may also account for their heightened verbal aggression as these boys were more attuned to how to utilize indirect forms of aggression as a means of causing harm on others and eventually could become more accustomed to dealing with interpersonal matters through non-physical means.

Also, alcohol and marijuana uses were seen to be used more among boys of this group but comparatively at lower rates than their peers in the high-risk group. It was likely that these social boys were also more prone to negative peer influence that could lead them to a life of experimentation with alcohol and drugs.

The researchers also concluded that by understanding these configurations of social-emotional and conduct problems could also better help them understand how they could elevate or reduce the student’s risks for different outcomes.  There are even more opportunities in schools to provide early prevention and interventions to help address any problems before they became severe.

The research was conducted by Professor Kevin Tan from the University of Illinois along with a group of researchers.