Looking good isn’t the key to happiness; in fact, being attractive often leads young people to engage in riskier behaviors. A new study led by Colin Peter Green from the Department of Economics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) reveals that more attractive teenagers are more likely to party and drink more alcohol than their peers. This increased alcohol consumption raises the risk of developing alcohol problems later in life. Green and his colleagues from Germany and the UK focused their research on underage drinking.

The study aimed to explore how attractiveness might lead to risky behaviors. The researchers examined six types of risky behaviors: drinking, binge drinking, smoking, substance use, unprotected sex, and unintended pregnancies. These behaviors are inherently risky and can lead to long-term problems. For example, teenage pregnancy can negatively impact education and income, while early alcohol consumption can lead to alcoholism. The study found a direct correlation between appearance and the behaviors adolescents choose. This correlation was observed in both sexes, but particularly attractive girls were more likely to drink and drink heavily compared to their less attractive friends.

“Our main finding is that young people perceived as more attractive generally drink more and engage more often in binge drinking, which involves several consecutive days of heavy drinking. The research shows that the risks they take and their outcomes later in life are linked to their inner confidence and self-esteem,” Green stated. Numerous studies confirm that being attractive is an advantage. Attractive individuals are more successful in the job market and earn higher salaries. In academia, physically attractive researchers are cited more frequently. Attractive professors receive better evaluations, and good-looking politicians perform better in elections.

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