Richmond, May 2: Did you always want to be the most popular kid in school? Do you worry about the number of friends you have on Facebook?
If so, stop worrying. New research has revealed that teenagers with large social networks are more prone to mental health problems in adulthood than those with a small group of close friends.
Researchers at the University of Virginia studied a group of 169 15-year-olds for 10 years until they reached age 25. They found that teens who prioritized close friendships at age 15 had lower social anxiety, an increased sense of self-worth, and fewer symptoms of depression by the time they reached age 25 than their peers.
Conversely, teens that were popular among their peers had higher levels of social anxiety as young adults.
The research also found that having large social circles as a teenager and forming close friendships were largely mutually exclusive, as these behaviors tended to be driven by different types of personalities.
With high-quality relationships in adolescence playing such an important role in forming mental wellbeing in adulthood, Allen warned against the dangers of relying on friendships formed online through social media.
While social media cannot be definitively held to blame, plenty of other research has previously shown how important good relationships with family and friends are for both physical and mental wellbeing.