Adults who grew up with this childhood personality trait earn more money now.

Would you believe it?

A new study found that people labelled ‘stubborn, defiant rule-breakers’ as children grow up to earn a higher income.  angry kid spoiled child

The findings come from research carried out.

According to psychologist Dr. Jeremy Dean the study on almost 3,000 children in Luxembourg looked at their intelligence, socioeconomic status and family background, among other variables.

Forty years later, 745 of those children were followed up to find out their educational and occupational achievements..

Predictors of higher income:

The researchers were surprised to find that a more rebellious childhood nature was associated with a higher adult income.

The only things that were greater predictors of an adult’s income were higher IQ and higher socioeconomic status.

This could be because rebellious people are better able to stand up for themselves, the study’s authors write:

“[W]e might assume that students who scored high on this scale might earn a higher income because they are more willing to be more demanding during critical junctures such as when negotiating salaries or raises. drawing on walls child destory wreck baby kid naughty

For instance, individuals who scored low on Agreeableness were also shown to earn more money.

Another explanation might be that individuals with higher levels of rule-breaking and defiance of parental authority also have higher levels of willingness to stand up for their own interests and aims, a characteristic that leads to more favourable individual outcomes.”

There could also be darker reasons for the rebellious earning more, as the authors note:

“We also cannot rule out that individuals who are likely or willing to break rules get higher pay for unethical reasons.

For instance, research in the field of organisational psychology showed that employees invest in unethical or deviant workplace behaviour when they are not satisfied with their income and when they have a high level of love of money.”

The study was published in the journal Developmental Psychology (Spengler et al., 2015).


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Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

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