Being a responsible student, showing an interest in school and having fewer problems with reading and writing were all associated with greater educational attainment and finding a more prestigious job both 11 years and 50 years after high school regardless of IQ, parental income, revealed new study.
"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 behaviors in high school have long-lasting effects for one's later life."
The research was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
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 behaviors 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.
"This study highlights the possibility that certain behaviors at crucial periods could have long-term consequences for a person's life," he said.