Hopeful parents don’t usually want children who are rowdy and rebellious, but there might be a reason why they should.
A study published in July of last year in the journal Developmental Psychology revealed that defiant children are more likely to make more money as adults than their obedient counterparts. The team of researchers that included Marion Spengler, Martin Brunner and Rodica Damian collected data from a cohort of 745 children in Luxembourg.
According to Quartz, the study spanned from 1968 when the children were about 12 years old until 2008 when they reached an average age of 52. The children and their teachers were given questionnaires to better understand their behavior and thought processes. The survey also asked about their career outcomes four decades later.
Researchers from the University of Luxembourg, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and The Free University of Berlin found that the children who disregarded authority, broke rules and defied parents made more money as adults. The surprising personality trait was the best predictor over IQ and parents’ socioeconomic status for which students had higher incomes as adults nearing or in their fifties.
Though researchers aren’t exactly sure why that is, they theorized that those with defiant personalities toward authority were more willing to fight for raises or promotions. They wrote:
“We 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.”
On the flip side, it may be that kids who break rules are more likely to cheat or steal as adults. They added:
“We also cannot rule out that individuals who are likely or willing to break rules get higher pay for unethical reasons.”