New research has suggested that the relationships that people make during their teenage years could have a big impact on their mental health later down the line.
Carried out by the University of Virginia and funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Mental Health, the study found that teens who prioritised close friendships at the age of 15 reported lower social anxiety and a higher sense of self-worth, as well as fewer depressive symptoms at the age of 25 than their peers.
And, interestingly, teenagers who were popular among their peers reported higher levels of social anxiety at young adulthood.
The conclusion was drawn that experiencing strong and intimate friendships during adolescence could be beneficial for long-term mental health.
“Being well-liked by a large group of people cannot take the place of forging deep, supportive friendships. And these experiences stay with us, over and above what happens later. As technology makes it increasingly easy to build a social network of superficial friends, focusing time and attention on cultivating close connections with a few individuals should be a priority,” co-author of the study Joseph Allen said.
Social media itself has been criticised in the past for helping to increase feelings of anxiety, in large part because of the compare-and-despair phenomenon. Seeing other people’s lives can make us feel inadequate about our own – which can lead to social anxiety and depression.
If you’re worried and think you need anxiety counselling in Cheshire or elsewhere, get in touch with us today.