Teens Who Act Out

By: Dr. Timothy Johnson
By: Dr. Timothy Johnson

Teens who "act out" in school are more likely to experience wide- ranging problems as adults, according to a new study that tracked adolescents for 40 years.

Teenagers whose teachers said they misbehaved at school were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety as adults, to be divorced, and to have financial difficulties. Results suggest that finding ways to keep troubled teens in school could have benefits that last a lifetime.

Most children will act up in school at one point or another, but routine
misbehavior - especially in teenagers - could be a sign of trouble ahead.

British researchers tracked more than 3,500 adolescents for 40 years,
asking them periodically about their health, happiness, and life events.

The children's teachers had provided ratings of their behavior at the
beginning of the study, including how often they did not show up for school, disobeyed instructions, or daydreamed during class.

Results showed that students who misbehaved frequently as teens were 30 percent more likely to report depression as adults.

They were also 70 per cent more likely to be divorced and had double the chance for financial troubles.

Researchers say one major contributing factor could be that troubled teens were four times as likely to leave school without a degree - making it difficult for them to earn a good living.

Experts say helping these kids manage their anger and relate to others -
and stay in school - would greatly improve their chances for success as adults.


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