How you act as a kid has an impact on your behavior in middle age, finds a new study. Researchers from several universities tracked a thousand people from birth through age 45 in New Zealand and determined that people who had higher levels of self-control as children were aging more slowly than their peers at age 45. Both their bodies and their brains were healthier as well as biologically younger. Additionally, those who had more self-control as kids seemed to be better equipped to handle the health, financial and social challenges of later life as they expressed more positive views of aging and felt more satisfied with life in middle age.
The scientists point out that self-control can be taught, and some study participants who shifted their self-control levels as adults (even in their 50s) had better health outcomes than their childhood assessments would have predicted. Study co-author Terrie Moffitt adds, “Everyone fears an old age that’s sickly, poor, and lonely, so aging well requires us to get prepared, physically, financially, and socially. We found people who have used self-control since childhood are far more prepared for aging than their same-age peers.” (EurekAlert!)