‘Be­hav­iour in high school pre­dicts in­come, oc­cu­pa­tional suc­cess in life’

Sunday Trust - - NEWS | HEALTH - Source:https://www. sci­encedaily.com

Be­ing a re­spon­si­ble stu­dent, main­tain­ing an in­ter­est in school and hav­ing good read­ing and writ­ing skills will not only help a teenager get good grades in high school but could also be pre­dic­tors of ed­u­ca­tional and oc­cu­pa­tional suc­cess decades later, re­gard­less of IQ, parental so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus or other per­son­al­ity fac­tors, ac­cord­ing to re­search pub­lished by the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

“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,” said lead au­thor Mar­ion Spen­gler, PhD, of the Univer­sity of Tübin­gen. “Our re­search found that spe­cific be­hav­iours in high school have long-last­ing ef­fects for one’s later life.” The re­search was pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Per­son­al­ity and So­cial Psy­chol­ogy.

Spen­gler and her co-au­thors an­a­lyzed data col­lected by the Amer­i­can In­sti­tutes for Re­search from 346,660 U.S. high school stu­dents in 1960, along with fol­low-up data from 81,912 of those stu­dents 11 years later and 1,952 of them 50 years later. The ini­tial high school phase mea­sured a va­ri­ety of stu­dent be­hav­iours and at­ti­tudes as well as per­son­al­ity traits, cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, parental so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus and de­mo­graphic fac­tors. The fol­low-up sur­veys mea­sured over­all ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment, in­come and oc­cu­pa­tional pres­tige.

Be­ing a re­spon­si­ble stu­dent, show­ing an in­ter­est in school and hav­ing fewer prob­lems with read­ing and writ­ing were all sig­nif­i­cantly as­so­ci­ated with greater ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment and find­ing a more pres­ti­gious job both 11 years and 50 years af­ter high school. These fac­tors were also all as­so­ci­ated with higher in­come at the 50-year mark. Most ef­fects re­mained even when re­searchers con­trolled for parental so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus, cog­ni­tive abil­ity and other broad per­son­al­ity traits such as con­sci­en­tious­ness.

While the find­ings weren’t nec­es­sar­ily sur­pris­ing, Spen­gler noted how re­li­ably spe­cific be­hav­iours peo­ple showed in school were able to pre­dict later suc­cess.

Fur­ther anal­y­sis of the data sug­gested that much of the ef­fect could be ex­plained by over­all ed­u­ca­tional achieve­ment, ac­cord­ing to Spen­gler.

“Stu­dent char­ac­ter­is­tics and be­hav­iours 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,” she said. “This study high­lights the pos­si­bil­ity that cer­tain be­hav­iours at cru­cial pe­ri­ods could have long-term con­se­quences for a per­son’s life.”

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