Mischievous kids likely to be big earners as adults, study suggests

Rule-breaking, defiant kids often earn higher incomes than their more responsible, agreeable peers, according to a recent study.

Researchers studied the characteristics — like parental socioeconomic status and IQ — and behaviors of more than 700 kids at age 12. Behaviors included inattentiveness, impatience, pessimism and rule-breaking. The researchers followed the kids through the age of 42 to determine their career success and income.

The study found that the rule-breaking, defiant trait among children was the best non-cognitive predictor of higher income, even after taking into account the influence of IQ, parental socioeconomic status and educational attainment.

Past studies support this notion that going against the grain results in an income boost. A 2001 study showed that disagreeable people were more successful in their careers than those who tried harder to prevent conflicts with others.

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