Intended for healthcare professionals


Childhood behaviour, adult earnings . . . and other stories

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 25 July 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l4716

Behaviour in early childhood

In the 1980s, nearly 3000 children living in Quebec had their behaviour evaluated by their kindergarten teachers. Thirty years later, it turns out that some of these behavioural traits are related to current annual earnings (JAMA Psych doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.1326). Children who received high ratings for inattention and aggression tend to earn less as adults, while those who scored highly for sociability are likely to earn more. Although it’s interesting that behaviour at an age as young as 6 can foreshadow what happens in adult life, the effect is small. Experience of family adversity during childhood, for example, has a stronger influence on …

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