Bad kids grow up to be bad adults—unless they learn a little self-control. That's the gist of a new study out of New Zealand which shows that a lack of such control remains consistent through adulthood unless it is caught early and addressed. More than 1,000 kids were evaluated by teachers, parents, and themselves to see how they rated on measures such as "low frustration tolerance" and "acts before thinking."
When the study followed up on the kids years later, those with low marks were more likely to overuse alcohol and drugs, have unplanned pregnancies, drop out of school, and have criminal records, the Telegraph reports. "This shows self-control is important by itself, apart from all other factors that siblings share, such as their parents and home life," says one Duke researcher. "The good news is that self-control can change," adds another scientist, who was not involved with the study. "People can change."