Our new Psychological Science paper is available here - details below
Childhood Self-Control and Unemployment Throughout the Life Span: Evidence From Two British Cohort Studies
Roy F. Baumeister3,4
1Behavioural Science Centre, University of Stirling
2UCD Geary Institute, University College Dublin
3Department of Psychology, Florida State University
4King Abdulaziz University
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.