What is it about?

We used studies from the US and the UK that followed participants from birth into adulthood. Modeling our analyses on an influential study by Moffitt et al. (2011), we reached similar conclusions that participants showing impulsive and inattentive behaviors across childhood completed less education in adulthood, had more financial difficulties, were more likely to have health concerns, and were even more likely to have spent time in jail.

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Why is it important?

Together with the findings from Moffitt et al. (2011), our study makes clear that childhood attention and behavior problems are associated with a range of outcomes in adulthood for cohorts born in the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s across three countries (the US, UK, and New Zealand).


The consistency of our findings for people born in different countries and different generations underscores the importance of learning to control one's attention and behavior in childhood. The consistency also provides compelling support to the broader notion that characteristics and experiences of individuals in childhood affect them well into adulthood. Given the years and range of experiences an individual has in the decades between childhood and adulthood, these consistent findings are all the more remarkable.

Andrew Koepp
University of Texas at Austin

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Attention and behavior problems in childhood predict adult financial status, health, and criminal activity: A conceptual replication and extension of Moffitt et al. (2011) using cohorts from the United States and the United Kingdom., Developmental Psychology, June 2023, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/dev0001533.
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