Were you attentive at school? Are your earnings lower than those of your peers or co-workers? Your behaviour in kindergarten could have something to do with it! According to a recent study, individuals who were inattentive at the age of six had lower earnings in their 30’s after taking their IQ and family adversity into consideration. Also, males who were physically aggressive or oppositional (e.g. who refused to share materials or blamed others) had lower annual earnings in their 30s and males who were prosocial (e.g., who shared or helped) had higher earnings later.
The study, which was published in the journal ‘JAMA Psychiatry ‘ examined the link between six prevalent childhood behaviours in kindergarten and annual earnings at ages 33 to 35 years. “Our study suggests that kindergarten teachers can identify behaviours associated with lower earnings three decades later,” Daniel Nagin, co-author of the study said. According to the study, “Early monitoring and support for children who exhibit high levels of inattention, and for boys who exhibit high levels of aggression and opposition and low levels of pro-social behaviour could have long-term socioeconomic advantages for those individuals and society.”
The study took data from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children in which 2,850 children were assessed. The data included behavioural ratings by kindergarten teachers when the children were five or six years old, as well as when the participants were 33 to 35 years old. The aim of the study was to test the direct link between inattention, hyperactivity, physical aggression, opposition anxiety and pro sociality when the children were in kindergarten and later reported annual earnings.
Researchers concluded that the children who were inattentive in kindergarten had lower earnings in their 30’s. They also found that boys who were aggressive or oppositional at the age of 6 had lower earnings, and that boys who were prosocial at the age of 6 had higher earnings in their 30s.
“Early behaviours are modifiable, arguably more so than traditional factors associated with earnings, such as IQ and socioeconomic status, making them key targets for early intervention,” explained Sylvana M. Cote, another co-author of the study.
“If early behavioural problems are associated with lower earnings, addressing these behaviours is essential to helping children--through screenings and the development of intervention programs--as early as possible,” M. Cote said further.