Bottom Line: In a study of 920 boys from low-socioeconomic neighborhoods in Montreal, Canada, teacher ratings of inattention in kindergarten at ages 5 and 6 were associated with lower earnings as adults 30 years later, while increased ratings on prosocial behavior (such as helping, sharing and cooperating) were associated with higher earnings after accounting for child IQ and family adversity. Average personal earnings in adulthood were about $29,000 and an increase in inattention ratings as a child was associated with a decrease in earnings of about $1,300 and better ratings on prosocial behavior were associated with increased earnings of about $400. Teacher ratings on behaviors of hyperactivity, opposition and aggression weren't associated with earnings in this observational study, which used earning data from government tax records. A limitation of the study is that it cannot explain causal reasons behind the observed associations.
Author: Sylvana M. Côté, Ph.D., of the Université de Montreal, Canada, and coauthors
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