Children with high self-control -- who are typically better able to pay attention, persist with difficult tasks, and suppress inappropriate or impulsive behaviour -- are likely to spend 40 percent less time unemployed as adults than those who had a lower capacity for self-control as children, the findings showed.

The researchers used two studies of more than 15,000 British children to examine the link between self-control and adult unemployment.

Self-control was measured at ages as young as seven and the analyses adjusted for intelligence, social class and family background and health factors.The results provided clear evidence linking self-control to unemployment rates across working life. An examination of the 1980s recession also showed that those with low childhood self-control experienced a pronounced spike in joblessness during this difficult economic period.While this group was among the first to lose jobs during the recession, they also found it more difficult to regain employment.

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