Stage set early for success, or failure

Good self-management by age 3 predicts adult health and wealth

4:26pm, January 24, 2011

Young kids lacking self-management skills are way more than annoying. They’re more likely to be big-time losers in the game of life, a new study finds.

Low levels of conscientiousness, perseverance and other elements of self-control in youngsters as young as age 3 herald high rates of physical health problems, substance abuse, financial woes, criminal arrests and single parenthood by age 32, says an international team led by psychologists Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi of Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Increasing self-control difficulties among children herald progressively greater numbers and seriousness of these adult troubles, the scientists report online January 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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