They want to experiment but are cautious of the problems that can occur for breaking the law
It's not only the peer pressure that makes kids try alcohol or smoke pot!A new study reveals that students with higher marks are more likely to drink alcohol and smoke pot compared with teens with lower scores. According to a study published Wednesday in the British Medical Journal Open, students with higher marks tend more into pot than cigarettes.
Although some people believe smart students simply have a tendency to experiment, James Williams and Gareth Hagger-Johnson, co-authors of the new study, say these patterns of substance use may continue into adulthood."Our research provides evidence against the theory that these teens give up as they grow up," said the authors, both affiliated with University College London.
The researchers surveyed more than 6,000 students from public and private schools across England.Using questionnaires, they regularly tracked each student's use of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis from age 13 or 14 until age 19 or 20. Williams and Hagger-Johnson used national test scores taken at age 11 to rank students academically, reports CNN. Some of their results provided no surprises.
During their early teens, high-scoring pupils were less likely to smoke cigarettes and more likely to drink alcohol than their peers with lower test scores. At this time, they were slightly more likely to say they used cannabis.
During their late teens, pupils with the highest scores were more than twice as likely to drink alcohol regularly compared with others, yet they also showed themselves to have less of a tendency to binge-drink. During this same period in their lives, the academically gifted students proved nearly twice as likely to use cannabis persistently and 50 percent more likely to use it occasionally compared with their peers with lower test scores.
One "potential explanation," Williams and Hagger-Johnson said, is that "higher-ability adolescents are more open to try cannabis but are initially cautious of illegal substances in early adolescence as they are more aware of the immediate and long-term repercussions that breaking the law might incur."
"Cognitive ability is also associated with openness to new experiences and higher levels of boredom due to a lack of mental stimulation in school," the co-authors added.