Being interested in school, being a responsible student and having good reading and writing skills all predict people’s occupational success decades later, new research finds.
Even 50 years after someone had left high school, these factors still predicted if people had a more prestigious job or not.
Being a good student also predicted how much money people earned 50 years later.
Dr Marion Spengler, who led the research, said:
“Educational researchers, political scientists and economists are increasingly interested in the traits and skills that parents, teachers and schools should foster in children to enhance chances of success later in life.
Our research found that specific behaviors in high school have long-lasting effects for one’s later life.”
The study used data from 346,660 U.S. high school students first collected in 1960.
Plus 81,912 of them were followed up 11 years later and 1,952 were followed up 50 years later.
The researchers took into account all sorts of other factors like IQ, personality traits and the family’s socioeconomic status.
Dr Spengler said:
“Student characteristics and behaviors were rewarded in high school and led to higher educational attainment, which in turn was related to greater occupational prestige and income later in life
This study highlights the possibility that certain behaviors at crucial periods could have long-term consequences for a person’s life.”
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The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Spengler et al., 2018).