Student Characteristics and Behaviours in Childhood Predict Self-reported Health in Middle Adulthood

Marion Spengler, Brent W. Roberts, Oliver Lüdtke, Romain Martin, Martin Brunner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined how self-reported and teacher-rated student characteristics in primary school were associated with adult self-reported health. A representative sample of Luxembourgish students was assessed in 1968 (Mage = 11.9, SD = 0.6) and 2008 (N = 745; Mage = 51.8, SD = 0.6). Self-reported sense of inferiority and pessimism in childhood were negatively related to subjective health and vitality-related quality of life/health in adulthood (rs = −.08 to −.12); teacher-rated studiousness (age 12 years) was positively related to subjective health, healthcare utilization and vitality-related quality of life/health (age 52 years; rs =.13 to.16). After controlling for childhood IQ, parental socio-economic status, educational attainment and sex in multiple regression analyses, most effects of teacher-rated studiousness showed incremental validity beyond the controls. School entitlement, sense of inferiority, impatience and pessimism were positively related to body mass index (rs =.08 to.13). The responsible student scale and teacher-rated studiousness were negatively related to body mass index (rs = −.09 to −.13). The findings demonstrate that childhood characteristics and behaviours are important life-course predictors of key health dimensions beyond childhood IQ and parental socio-economic status. In addition, this narrower level of assessment adds significantly to the empirical body of knowledge on long-term predictors of health outcomes in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-466
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • (parental) socio-economic status (SES)
  • childhood characteristics and behaviours
  • general cognitive ability
  • health
  • longitudinal study MAGRIP
  • personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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