Intergenerational Upward and Downward Social Mobility: The Role of Intelligence, Effortful Control, Assertiveness, and Peer Competence in Early Adolescence

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Abstract

Relatively little is known about which competencies adolescents need to experience intergenerational social mobility. We investigated if intelligence, effortful control, assertiveness, and peer competence at age 11 was associated with upward or downward mobility at age 26, utilizing data from the TRAILS study (N = 2229; ageT1 = 11.1 (SD = 0.55); 50.8% girls). Results from our multinomial logistic regressions indicate that intelligence and effortful control, but not social competencies, are associated with upward mobility. Only intelligence was associated with downward mobility. Having dissimilar levels of competence than peers with the same parental SES was more important for social mobility than having similar competencies as peers with the same young adulthood SES. Social mobility thus happens primarily based on competence. However, given the importance of genetic predispositions and socioeconomic environment for intelligence and effortful control, and the limited appreciation of alternative competencies, social mobility remains to some extent unmeritocratic.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmerging Adulthood
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Keywords

  • adolescence
  • assertiveness
  • effortful control
  • intelligence
  • peer competence
  • social mobility
  • socioeconomic status

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