Sense of control is greater among children who grow up in households of higher socioeconomic status. It is unclear if this childhood advantage persists throughout life or if schooling and adulthood experiences override any early childhood advantage. Using data from 2 nationally representative samples of primarily middle-aged (National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, or MIDUS), and older adults (Health and Retirement Study, or HRS), I tested if personal mastery and perceived constraints in adulthood were associated with the educational attainment of the participant's father or mother, adjusting for participant's education level, income, and other demographic characteristics. In both samples, personal mastery was not associated with either parent's education level, but perceived constraints had a graded inverse association with mother's education level. These results indicate that childhood experiences continue to be associated with perceived constraints, even in later life, and may not be completely overridden by adult experiences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Developmental Psychology 08/2012; DOI:10.1037/a0029557 · 3.21 Impact Factor