343 Behavior & Future Success

Research by Spengler, P., Damian R. I., & Roberts, B. W. (2018).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, B.S. 

Youth IQ, socioeconomic, and personality factors predict later occupational success, but can our attitudes and habits in high school predict it too?

Researchers tested whether behaviors in school such as sense of responsibility, interest in school, and writing and reading skills could predict the student’s educational attainment, and occupational status years later.

They compared 1960s high school survey data with success measures 11 and 50 years later.  They found that those who had better reading and writing skills and simply being a responsible student had a higher educational attainment, occupational status and income at 11 and 50 years. Those who had a higher interest in school had a higher educational attainment at 11 and 50 years, but only occupational status at 11 years, and higher income 50 years later. These factors were more important than parental socioeconomic status, IQ and general personality traits.

By high school, students have formed habits in school that are essential for their future success like paying attention, completing homework, and not being distracted.  Parents and educators, help students be responsible scholars, have good study skills, be curious and interested in school.  These behaviors and attitudes are the keys to future success!


Spengler, P., Damian R. I., & Roberts, B. W. (2018). How you behave in school predicts life success above and beyond family background, broad traits, and cognitive ability.   Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114(4), 620-636.

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