Career outcomes of adolescents with below average IQ: Who succeeded against the odds?

Lars R. Bergman, Laura Ferrer-Wreder, Rita Žukauskiene

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    The educational and vocational careers of adolescents with below average IQ were studied in a sample of Swedish adolescents (N. = 1326), born in 1955 and followed from early adolescence to midlife. Compared to those with average IQ, the level of education and occupational status achieved by those with below average IQ were, generally, considerably lower. This was the case, in particular, for female participants in the lowest IQ group. No significant relationships were found between parents' socioeconomic status and educational level, income, or occupational status in midlife for adolescents with low IQ (lowest 20%). When those with a successful educational or vocational career were compared to others on a number of competence factors, own educational aspirations stood out as the factor that differed most within each IQ group between those who succeeded and those who did not. The differences were largest for those of low IQ (effect sizes 0.4-1.6). These findings were consistent with results from multiple regression analyses, which, for instance, showed that, within the low IQ group and controlling for confounders, the only significant predictor of career outcomes was educational aspirations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-17
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015



    • Competence
    • Educational aspirations
    • Longitudinal
    • Low IQ

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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