WASHINGTON - CHILDREN who are over-active, cannot concentrate or act impulsively as early as age three tend to become troubled adults unless they learn self-control along the way, said a study on Monday.
An international team of researchers examined young children in New Zealand and Britain and found that the low-scorers on measures of self-control as kids faced more financial, health and substance abuse problems as they aged.
Measures of low self-control in the study of 1,000 New Zealand children included 'low frustration tolerance, lacks persistence in reaching goals, difficulty sticking with a task,' said the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Other indicators were 'over-active, acts before thinking, has difficulty waiting turn, restless, not conscientious.' The children who scored lowest on those counts faced a host of problems as adults, 'things like breathing problems, gum disease, sexually transmitted disease, inflammation, overweight, and high cholesterol and blood pressure,' the study said.
Researchers also saw those children emerge as adults with financial woes, such as credit card debt. 'They also were more likely to be single parents, have a criminal conviction record, and be dependent on alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and harder drugs,' said the study.
'These adult outcomes were predictable across the entire spectrum of self-control scores, from low to high,' said Duke University psychologist Terrie Moffitt, lead researcher on the study. -- AFP