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Scottish teenagers adapt American style prom

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Scots teenagers reject American style proms for their own style of home grown glamour, according to new research.

And, even though researchers found that the prom costs an average of £400 per person, the popularity of this US import shows no sign of abating - in spite of the current economic climate.

Over a third of Scottish secondary schools responded to questionnaires sent out by Dr Julie Tinson of the University of Stirling and Dr Pete Nuttall of the University of Bath. “Only 10 schools out of the 125 which responded did not hold a prom,” says Dr Tinson. “Of those who did hold a prom, 90% of them hired a venue outside the school to mark the transition to employment or further education. 

“Scottish school leavers have adopted the glamour of American style proms – hiring limos and buying expensive outfits to wear – but have rejected many other elements: the prom king and queen are notable by their absence and corsages are less popular than limos or live bands hired especially for the occasion.”

The researchers found that Scottish pupils are keen to have an event that reflects their own heritage: ‘Our prom should be more Scottish, Scottish music, kilts, as this is the country we are from,’ and distanced themselves from what they described as ‘tacky’, ‘pretentious’, ‘fake’ or ‘contrived’ practice in the US.

While most previous academic research into proms has focused on the prom itself, Dr Tinson and her colleague investigated the development of new skills and confidence by those teenagers who organised their school prom.

“The adoption of the prom provides those on the organising committee with opportunities to learn how to evaluate different options, negotiate with suppliers and communicate effectively with their peers and others,” says Dr Tinson.

“These consumer and personal skills clearly prepare adolescents not only for negotiating adulthood (e.g. work, family, a career) but for individual and group consumption situations. It was also evident that the young people developed more confidence in their own abilities during the process of organisation.”


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