Apparently, intelligence doesn’t carry over to the ability to “just say no.” A new British study finds children with high IQs are actually more likely to use drugs as adults than people who score low on IQ tests as children. The data can be traced back to the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has been following thousands of people for four decades.
In the noted study, the kids’ IQs were tested at the ages of 5, 10 and 16. The study also asked about drug use and looked at education and other socioeconomic factors. Then when participants turned 30, they were asked whether they had used drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the past year.
What researchers found was that men with high childhood IQs were up to two times more likely to use illegal drugs than their lower-scoring counterparts. Even more frightening is the stat that girls with high IQs were up to three times more likely to use drugs as adults.
So what constitutes a high IQ? A high IQ is defined as a score between 107 and 158, while an average IQ is 100. The study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The lead researcher says he isn’t surprised by the findings. “Previous research found for the most part people with high IQs lead a healthy life, but that they are more likely to drink to excess as adults,” says James White, a psychologist at Cardiff University in the UK.
While information is great, it’s not clear what it means yet. Experts are still trying to determine just why people with high childhood IQs are more likely to use illegal drugs. “We suspect they may be more open to new experiences and are more sensation seeking,” says White. In the paper, White and his co-author also mention other studies that find high IQ kids may use drugs because they are bored or to cope with being different.
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