Boxes represent the interquartile range, with the central horizontal line showing the median and the lower and upper horizontal lines the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively. Whiskers represent 1.
Outliers are suppressed in accordance with Statistics Canada data protection requirements. JAMA Psychiatry. Question Are behaviors in kindergarten associated with employment earnings 30 years later, after controlling for child IQ and family background? Findings In this study of participants who were followed up for 30 years, inattention at age 6 years was found to be associated with lower annual earnings at age 33 to 35 years, after adjustment for IQ and family adversity.
For male participants only, aggression-opposition was associated with lower annual earnings and prosociality was associated with higher annual earnings. Meaning Kindergarten teachers can identify behaviors associated with lower earnings 3 decades later; early monitoring and support for children exhibiting high inattention, aggression-opposition, and low levels of prosocial behaviors could have long-term socioeconomic advantages for those individuals and society.
Importance Specifying the association between childhood behaviors and adult earnings can inform the development of screening tools and preventive interventions to enhance social integration and economic participation. Objective To test the association between behaviors at age 6 years and employment earnings at age 33 to 35 years. Quebec behavioral free adult personal data included behavioral ratings by kindergarten teachers when the children were aged 5 or 6 years and to government tax returns of those same participants at age 33 to 35 years.
Data were analyzed from September to December Main Outcomes and Measures Mixed-effects linear regression models were used to test the associations between teacher-rated inattention, hyperactivity, aggression, opposition, anxiety, and prosociality at age 6 years and reported annual earnings on income tax returns at age 33 to 35 years. Participant IQ and family adversity were adjusted for in the analysis.
The study included participants, with a mean SD age of Inattention and aggression-opposition were associated with lower annual employment earnings, and prosociality with higher earnings but only among male participants; inattention was the only behavioral predictor of income among girls.
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Early monitoring and support for children demonstrating high inattention and for boys exhibiting high aggression-opposition and low prosocial behaviors could have long-term advantages for those individuals and society. A series of long-term studies sought to address this question and found that childhood behavioral problems, such as inattention, hyperactivity, aggression, and opposition, are associated with a range of adverse outcomes 1 - 3 that include unemployment, lower earnings, and less wealth in early adulthood.
The association between childhood behaviors and future earnings is not surprising. Children who fight with their peers, are careless in their work, do not attend to instructions, and do not complete asments are likely to underperform in school 17 - 19 and subsequently in the workplace as adults, 420 which may be associated with lower earnings.
Conversely, children who exhibit prosocial behaviors have been found to have better peer relations, 21 fewer adolescent behavioral problems, 22 and higher educational attainment, 23 which may increase their social and economic capital as well as employment earnings in adulthood.
Long-term studies support these. Inattention, hyperactivity, and antisocial behavior at age 10 years 24 - 6 and low self-control between 3 and 11 years of age 79 are associated with lower earnings and less wealth in early adulthood age 26 to 36 years, depending on the study.
Quebec behavioral free adult personal
Early behaviors are modifiable, 1625 arguably more so than traditional factors associated with earnings such as IQ and socioeconomic status, making them key targets for early intervention. From a cost-effectiveness perspective, behavioral assessments should be made at a single time point and as early as possible when children are most likely to gain an advantage from intervention. Kindergarten is the ideal period because, in many countries, it provides the first opportunity for population-wide assessments that include children from low-income backgrounds who are less likely to attend daycare.
Second, several studies combined multiple behavioral dimensions eg, inattention, opposition, and aggression to form composite indexes. An alternative approach is to include the specific behaviors within a single model so that those associated with the outcome 27 can be incorporated into targeted intervention programs, which are more effective and efficient than nontargeted generalized interventions. Third, studies typically used self-reported earnings.
This approach is susceptible to biases such as selective dropout eg, among participants with low socioeconomic statusnondeliberate misreporting eg, lack of knowledge about the value of income, workplace benefitsunder- or overreporting owing to social desirability bias, and deliberate falsification. The use of administrative data ie, government tax returns minimizes these biases because these data provide population-wide coverage, for all sources of income eg, earnings, benefits, and tax reductionsand are recorded through impartial third-party reporting eg, employers and therefore superior to self-reports.
Fourth, few studies examined the potential advantages of explicitly measured prosocial behaviors, which may be independently associated with higher earnings or may counteract the negative associations of behavioral problems.
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In addition, to our knowledge, no study has examined the association between kindergarten behaviors and employment earnings obtained from tax return records in a large population-based sample that included male and female participants over a follow-up period of 3 decades. The present study sought to address these limitations of research by examining the association between 6 prevalent childhood behaviors assessed in kindergarten inattention, hyperactivity, aggression, opposition, anxiety, and prosociality and annual earnings at age 33 to 35 years as measured by tax records. Behavioral ratings at age 5 to 6 years were obtained from kindergarten teachers, and earnings were obtained from government tax return records.
A further aim of this study was to estimate the economic burdens of early behavioral problems by calculating the earnings that would be theoretically restored given a 1-SD reduction in a given behavior. Data for the present study were obtained from the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children, a population-based sample of boys and girls born in or in Quebec, Canada, and followed up from January 1,to December 31, Behavioral ratings or scores were obtained from teachers, who used the Social Behavior Questionnaire at the end of kindergarten when their students were aged 5 or 6 years.
Outcome data were obtained from government tax returns and linked to the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Kindergarten Children participant records through Statistics Canada. Personal earnings were defined as all annual pretax wages, salaries, and commissions, excluding income from capital gains.
The 3 most recent available tax returns at the time of analysis were averaged and used as the main outcome the Pearson correlation coefficient across the 3 years ranged from 0. Cognitive ability was assessed using the Sentence Completion Test 38 obtained at age 13 years. This instrument correlates highly with other verbal and nonverbal measures of intelligence and educational achievement across a range of populations. Scores were standardized on a 0 to 1 scale. To for missing outcome data, inverse probability weights were generated and included for sensitivity analyses in all models variables of missingness were sex, aggression, and family adversity.
After confirming the missing at random assumption, missing data eTable 2 in the Supplement used multiple imputations by chained equations. Mixed-effects linear regression models with robust SEs were used to examine the association between childhood behavior and adult earnings with adjustment for clustering of scores at the regional, school, and classroom levels using clustered standard errors.
We controlled for child IQ and family adversity. Sex differences in childhood behavioral problems and employment earnings are well documented male participants in our sample had higher variance in earnings and all childhood behavioral scores, except prosocialityand all analyses were conducted separately for male and female participants of the combined model with sex entered as a moderator are shown in eTable 4 in the Supplement. Because behaviors could operate interactively rather than additively, 2-way interactions between all behaviors were examined, with all continuous interaction terms centered prior to analysis.
Effect sizes were calculated as the ratio of the coefficient estimate to the SD of the variable. The direction of improvement depended on the variable: for inattention, financial effect measured the earnings gain from a 1-SD decrease, whereas for prosociality, it measured the earnings gain from a 1-SD increase. In total, participants [ Baseline child and family characteristics of participants with complete outcome data Quebec behavioral free adult personal shown in Table 1. Excluded male participants [4.
Participant earnings and family circumstances at follow-up are presented in Table 2. Compared with men, women were more likely to be married or cohabiting [ Bivariate associations showed that all kindergarten behaviors, as well as IQ and family adversity, were statistically ificantly associated with earnings at follow-up eTable 5 in the Supplement.
Multivariable tests of association between behavioral ratings at age 6 years and earnings at age 33 to 35 years, including adjustments for IQ and family adversity, are shown in Table 3. Mean personal earnings associated with these behaviors, split by quartile, are shown in the Figure. Higher child IQ was associated with higher earnings, and family adversity was associated with lower earnings for both male and female participants.
Inclusion of the inverse probability weights to for missing outcome data did not alter the.
Standardized effect size f 2 for the overall models was 0. For males, effect sizes were largest for inattention followed by aggression-opposition and prosociality, whereas for females the effect size was largest for inattention.
No statistically ificant interactions were found. Participants who reported 0 earnings [ The tobit regression analysis, which ed for the presence of outliers at the lower- and upper-income extremes, confirmed these findings with effect sizes that were equivalent to those in the main analysis eTable 6 in the Supplement.
To our knowledge, this study is the first to associate behaviors assessed in kindergarten with annual employment earnings obtained from government tax returns 3 decades later in a large population-based sample of male and female participants.
Teacher ratings of inattention at age 6 years seemed to be associated with lower earnings for both sexes, whereas ratings of aggression-opposition were associated with lower earnings for males only, after adjustment for childhood IQ and family adversity, albeit with an effect size roughly half that of inattention; higher prosociality was associated with higher earnings for males.
This study adds to a growing body of literature showing that childhood inattention, 46 antisocial behavior, 45 and low levels of prosociality 62443 act as channels for adverse social and economic outcomes in adulthood. It confirms that inattention is among the most important early childhood behaviors associated with lower earnings in adulthood, after ing for other factors. The absence of interactions between behaviors is consistent with at least 2 studies.
Because low levels of prosociality and combined aggression-opposition were also independently associated with loss of earnings, this monetary amount could be considerably larger for males. In the long term, lost earnings owing to early behavioral problems could accumulate as negative life Quebec behavioral free adult personal are compounded eg, withdrawal from or underperformance at school, criminal conviction and as individuals with limited education and skills become trapped in job sectors with little wage growth.
Standardized effect sizes were in the small range, a finding consistent with that of the few studies. In concrete terms, however, our show that the long-term losses to earnings associated with early behavior problems are not trivial.
We found no association between prosociality and earnings among female participants. Although studies have reported associations between kindergarten socioemotional skills and employment tenure at age 25 years 24 as well as between positive peer relations at age 10 years and earnings at age 26 years 6 among males and females, these studies differed in several ways, including the age at initial assessment, behaviors assessed, sample sizes, follow-up duration, and lack of control for anxiety, making a comparison to the present study problematic.
One explanation for the present result is that the study lacked statistical power to detect an association over the long follow-up period given the use of a single behavioral assessment in kindergarten. Prosocial behaviors were at higher levels for female than for male participants at baseline and should remain relatively stable across development 34 ; this finding suggests that key mediating mechanisms eg, educational and occupational attainment may operate differently for men and women.
Another possibility, although speculative, was that female participants with prosocial behaviors were more likely to pursue careers in socially oriented but not traditionally high-earning fields eg, education, health care. Several mediating pathways may underlie the associations observed in this study. Inattention has been repeatedly associated with low educational attainment, which in turn has been associated with lower occupational status and earnings.
An association with delinquent peers could increase the risk of antisocial behavior and low educational attainment. Prosocial behaviors, in contrast, should be associated with better peer or colleague relations, 21 educational achievements, 23 and employment opportunities, all of which are associated with higher earnings.
The of this study suggest that, at kindergarten age, inattention was 1 of the behaviors most associated by effect size with future earnings, followed by aggression-opposition among male participants, and that screening and preventive interventions in the early years that aim to improve economic participation should target inattention in addition to aggression-opposition.
Prosocial behaviors should also be monitored. That family adversity during childhood was associated with future earnings more than any child behavioral variable underscores the importance of reducing childhood adversity, beginning in pregnancy, through comprehensive family support and social engagement efforts. Several limitations of this study should also be noted.
This study did not for earnings through the informal economy or for uned accumulation of debt.
Effects of stereotypes on personal development
Because this was an association study, we could not assume causality. Numerous intervening life events may have affected the outcome. The role of mediating mechanisms should be tested in future studies, including preventive randomized clinical trials.