Your behavior in high school could predict your income, study says 

Did you each good grades in high school? If so, you’re more likely to earn a higher income, according to a new report. 

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Researchers from the American Psychological Association recently conducted a study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, to determine how performance in school can predict occupational success later in life. 

"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," lead author Marion Spengler said in a statement. "Our research found that specific behaviors in high school have long-lasting effects for one's later life."

For the assessment, the researchers examined data collected by the American Institutes for Research. It observed more than 345,000 American high school students in 1960 and included a follow-up questionnaire for about 80,000 of them 11 years later and another for nearly 2,000 of them 50 years later. 

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Scientists recorded the subjects’ personality traits, cognitive abilities, parental socioeconomic status and demographic factors, and the follow-up surveys measured their educational attainment, income and “job prestige,” the authors wrote.

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After analyzing the information, they found that being a responsible scholar, showing interest in education and performing well in reading and writing were all associated with career prestige at the 11-year mark and higher income at the 50-year mark. They noted controlled factors did not alter their results. 

"Student characteristics and behaviors were rewarded in high school and led to higher educational attainment, which in turn was related to greater occupational prestige and income later in life," Spengler said. "This study highlights the possibility that certain behaviors at crucial periods could have long-term consequences for a person's life."

While the researchers noted the findings weren’t “necessarily surprising,” they believe overall educational achievement contributed to their conclusions. They now hope to continue their investigations to explore other elements that could result in students’ success. 

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