By Staff Writer
Girls who become friends with boys at an early age are more likely to develop substance abuse problems later in life, which may include addictions that require help from drug rehab facilities, according to a new study published in the Journal of Research on Adolescents.
The researchers said that girls tend to mature faster than boys, and that this frequently includes efforts to socialize with males. However, girls who go through this period the earliest appear to be at greater risk for drug use.
For the study, they followed a group of 400 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 for a period of seven years. During this time, participants were asked about who they tend to socialize with and whether or not they use drugs or alcohol. The investigations found that girls who build mixed-gender social networks at the youngest ages tended to use more drugs. There was no correlation among boys.
The professor who led the study said that other research has shown that males tend to receive emotional support from the females in their lives. This may be one of the reasons why the effect was not seen in boys.