Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies
AuthorDaly, M; Delaney, L; Egan, M; Baumeister, RF
Source TitlePsychological Science
PublisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS INC
University of Melbourne Author/sBaumeister, Roy
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsDaly, M., Delaney, L., Egan, M. & Baumeister, R. F. (2015). Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies. PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, 26 (6), pp.709-723. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797615569001.
Access StatusOpen Access
The capacity for self-control may underlie successful labor-force entry and job retention, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. Analyzing unemployment data from two nationally representative British cohorts (N = 16,780), we found that low self-control in childhood was associated with the emergence and persistence of unemployment across four decades. On average, a 1-SD increase in self-control was associated with a reduction in the probability of unemployment of 1.4 percentage points after adjustment for intelligence, social class, and gender. From labor-market entry to middle age, individuals with low self-control experienced 1.6 times as many months of unemployment as those with high self-control. Analysis of monthly unemployment data before and during the 1980s recession showed that individuals with low self-control experienced the greatest increases in unemployment during the recession. Our results underscore the critical role of self-control in shaping life-span trajectories of occupational success and in affecting how macroeconomic conditions affect unemployment levels in the population.
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