125 What Happened to the Cool Kids?

Based on research by Allen, J., et al, 2014, written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS.

Do you remember the ‘cool’ kids from middle school? The ones everyone considered popular because they were good-looking, engaged in adult behaviors, and hung out with the older crowd?  Whatever happened to them?

Psychologist Joseph Allen and his graduate students from the University of Virginia evaluated pseudomaturity in adolescents. They describe pseudomaturity as youth seeking out friends who are physically attractive, have more romantic and sexually exploring relationships and engaged in minor delinquency such as skipping school, pranks, and vandalism. The researchers conducted a longitudinal study following 184 adolescents from the age of 13 until they turned 23.  Results of their analysis revealed that early adolescents with pseudomature behavior are more likely to have long-term difficulties in close relationships, significant problems with drugs and alcohol, and higher levels of criminal behavior. In fact, these pseudomature adolescents are more likely to have drug and alcohol problems in adulthood than actual drug and alcohol use during adolescence.

This study further illustrates the significance of these developmental years in the forming of young adults. If your child is engaging in pseudomature behaviors, act NOW because it may have a lasting impact! Let’s redirect these talented, energetic youth towards productive interests and activities.


Allen, J. P., Schad, M. M., Oudekerk, B., & Chango, J. (2014). What Ever Happened to the “Cool” Kids? Long‐Term Sequelae of Early Adolescent Pseudomature Behavior. Child development.

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