Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Rosopa, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Christopher Rotolo

Committee Member

Dr. Fred Switzer

Committee Member

Dr. Mary Anne Taylor


The present study sought to examine the processes through which variables in childhood affect financial and career success in adulthood. Though the effects of individual differences (e.g., cognitive ability and core self-evaluations [CSE]) on financial and career success outcomes have been frequently studied in industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology, situational factors are often treated as non-focal or control variables. We aim to augment the nomological network to include variables that have been identified in the fields of sociology and economics as significant predictors of financial and career success. The effects of religious tradition, poverty, and cognitive ability on outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction, and net worth) were examined. The mediating effects of CSE and risk aversion on the relation between childhood poverty and cognitive ability with job complexity, job satisfaction, and net worth were analyzed. Using a nationally representative longitudinal survey, the hypothesized relationships were tested using two separate analyses. First, one-way ANOVAs were utilized to assess between group differences on CSE, risk aversion, job complexity, net worth, and job satisfaction by religious tradition. Next, the hypothesized model was tested using path analysis in EQS. CSE was found to mediate the relationships between cognitive ability and income-to-poverty ratio with success outcomes. Between group differences and interaction effects were also found, suggesting the need for further research. The present study further elucidated the mediating processes through which childhood situational and individual difference factors affect financial and career success in adulthood.



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