« Back to FFLF News

March 08, 2018

Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness

Source: ajph.aphapublications.org | Re-Post Fight for Life7/8/2018 –

Understanding what early characteristics predict future outcomes could be of great value in helping children develop into healthy adults. In recent years, much research has been directed toward understanding noncognitive traits in children that may increase the likelihood of healthy personal development and eventual adult well-being.

1. For predicting future success in the workplace, levels of cognitive ability measured through IQ or test scores alone are less predictive than measures of educational attainment, which require not just cognitive ability but also noncognitive characteristics such as self-discipline, academic motivation, and interpersonal skills.

2. Future likelihood of committing crimes is greatly influenced by noncognitive processes in development, such as externalizing behavior, social empathy, and effectively regulating emotions.

3. A recent study found that noncognitive ability in the form of self-control in childhood was predictive of adult outcomes ranging from physical health to crime to substance abuse.

4. The value of noncognitive skills has also been determined through evaluation of interventions such as the landmark Perry Preschool program, in which improvements in noncognitive skills related to behavior and academic motivation were found to be central to long-term effects on crime and employment.

5. Inadequate levels of social and emotional functioning are increasingly recognized as central to many public health problems (e.g., substance abuse, obesity, violence). Just as researchers study how academic achievement in a population can lift groups out of poverty, public health scientists are now studying how these noncognitive factors affect health and wellness across domains.

Read the full article…