Intergenerational social mobility and mid-life status attainment: Influences of childhood intelligence, childhood social factors, and education

I J Deary, M D Taylor, C L Hart, V Wilson, G D Smith, D Blane, John Starr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examined the influences of childhood social background, childhood cognitive ability, and education on intergenerational social mobility and social status attainment at midlife. The subjects were men born in 1921 and who participated in the Scottish Mental Survey of 1932 and thereafter in the Midspan Collaborative study in Scotland between 1970 and 1973. In logistic regression analyses, childhood cognitive ability and height were associated with upward and downward change from father's social class to participant's social class at mid-life. Education significantly influenced upward social mobility. Number of siblings had no significant effect on social mobility. These effects were also examined after adjusting for the other variables. In structural equation modelling analyses, father's social class and childhood cognitive ability influenced social status attainment at midlife, with education and occupational status in young adulthood as partially mediating factors. It was noteworthy that childhood cognitive ability related more strongly to occupation in midlife than to first occupation. These data add to the relatively few studies that track the process of status attainment in adulthood, they provide information from a new geographical setting, and they contain information from a greater proportion of the lifecourse than do most existing studies. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-472
Number of pages18
JournalIntelligence
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • intelligence
  • social class
  • social mobility
  • education
  • occupation
  • SCOTTISH MENTAL SURVEY
  • TRUNK LENGTH
  • FOLLOW-UP
  • MORTALITY
  • RISK
  • HEALTH
  • BRITAIN
  • DEPRIVATION
  • MERITOCRACY
  • SAUNDERS

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