They may get all the party invitations and have more friends, but good-looking teenagers are also more likely to fall foul of the law, according to a new scientific study.
Researchers found that the phenomenon of the ‘hot felon‘ is grounded in fact after a four-year study of American adolescents.
The results came as a surprise to analysts, who had expected to find uglier people turned to crime after ‘a life of rejection and frustration’.
Researchers found that good looking people are more likely to fall foul of the law
More than 700 high-school students aged 12 to 16 were asked to rate their attractiveness, and those who gave themselves a high score were found to be significantly more likely to get involved in drug-dealing, vandalism or shoplifting.
Researchers from Bowling Green State University in Ohio predicted that people who considered themselves ugly would have lower self-esteem and score highest as trouble-makers.
But the opposite was true, leading them to suggest it could be because good-looking pupils attract larger groups of friends, applying more peer pressure.
Professor Thomas Mowen, who published his findings in the journal Crime & Delinquency, said: ‘We hypothesise that it has to do with popularity and friendships. Most types of offending behaviours are committed in groups.
So it’s likely an outcome of the fact that being pretty equates to more friends and social connections which, in turn, results in more opportunities for offending.’
There is, however, some upside in being a good-looking criminal as previous studies have found judges are more lenient when sentencing attractive defendants than ugly ones.
The term ‘hot felon’ was coined when US police circulated a mugshot of gang member Jeremy Meeks, who after his release from jail dated Chloe Green, the daughter of Topshop tycoon Philip Green.
This post was first published on DailyMail.