Newswise — While the findings weren’t necessarily surprising, Spengler noted how reliably specific behaviors people showed in school were able to predict later success.

Further analysis of the data suggested that much of the effect could be explained by overall educational achievement, according to Spengler.

“Student characteristics and behaviors were rewarded in high school and led to higher educational attainment, which in turn was related to greater occupational prestige and income later in life,” she said. “This study highlights the possibility that certain behaviors at crucial periods could have long-term consequences for a person’s life.”

Article:  “How You Behave in School Predicts Life Success Above and Beyond Family Background, Broad Traits, and Cognitive Ability,” by Marion Spengler, PhD, University of Tübingen, Rodica Ioana Damian, PhD, University of Houston, and Brent W. Roberts, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  University of Tübingen. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published  Feb. 26, 2018.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and

Contact: Marion Spengler at or by phone at +49 (0)7071/29-74948.

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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology