Socio-economic skills, as explained by the lead researcher, Damon Jones at Penn State, are "malleable" and can be taught and strengthened. They controlled for early academic skills, socio-economic status, and behavior (as rated by mothers and teachers).
We found significant associations in all those domains, crime, education, employment, substance use, mental health. For instance, children — for each point on the social competence scale, children were twice as likely to receive a college degree by age 25. There were consistent results for the crime outcomes.From USA Today
Children with poor social skills in kindergarten are by no means a lost cause, pediatrician Dina Lieser said.The study is here but it has a paywall. I'd be interested to know what data SPS supplied.
The study provides a hopeful message, because it's possible to improve social skills throughout childhood, said Lieser, chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' council on early childhood, who wasn't involved in the study.
Objectives. We examined whether kindergarten teachers' ratings of children’s prosocial skills, an indicator of noncognitive ability at school entry, predict key adolescent and adult outcomes. Our goal was to determine unique associations over and above other important child, family, and contextual characteristics.
Methods. Data came from the Fast Track study of low–socioeconomic status neighborhoods in 3 cities and 1 rural setting. We assessed associations between measured outcomes in kindergarten and outcomes 13 to 19 years later (1991–2000). Models included numerous control variables representing characteristics of the child, family, and context, enabling us to explore the unique contributions among predictors.
Results. We found statistically significant associations between measured social-emotional skills in kindergarten and key young adult outcomes across multiple domains of education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.
Conclusions. A kindergarten measure of social-emotional skills may be useful for assessing whether children are at risk for deficits in noncognitive skills later in life and, thus, help identify those in need of early intervention. These results demonstrate the relevance of noncognitive skills in development for personal and public health outcomes. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print July 16, 2015: e1–e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.302630)