Children with high IQ scores are more likely to experience with illicit drugs as they get older, especially if they’re brainy girls, says a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
This is because gifted children tend to become more easily bored than their peers and, as a result, seek out new experiences to stimulate their minds.
“[They’re] more likely to score high on personality scales of openness to experience,” said lead author James White.
Bruce Goldman, director of substance abuse services at the Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y., said that parents shouldn’t be fooled into thinking their kids aren’t experimenting with drugs just because they perform well academically.
“It is commonplace with peers and it is naive to think that because you have a good, smart kid that they will not be curious,” Goldman told WebMD.
The study measured nearly 8,000 participants’ IQ scores when they were between the ages of five and 10. When those kids turned 30, researchers followed up on their symptoms of psychological distress and drug usage and found that intelligent girls-turned-women were most linked to illegal drugs.
Among women in the top third of their IQ range at age five, usage of marijuana and cocaine was more than twice as likely compared to those who scored in the bottom tier. And the most intelligent men were nearly 50% more likely to have tried amphetamines and 65% have taken ecstasy compared to their peers with lower scores.
Although intelligent people may be linked to drug abuse, they also tend to make healthier choices than others and are even less likely to smoke cigarettes.
“With smoking, the evidence [about its dangers] is overwhelming whereas when you look at things like cannabis use, since they are more likely to associate with people who are similar to them, they are likely to see that smoking cannabis relatively infrequently doesn’t have huge impact,” White said.
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