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Child Dev. 1985 Aug;56(4):899-910.

How lower- and working-class youth become middle-class adults: the association between ego defense mechanisms and upward social mobility.


This is a report of social mobility in 278 inner-city men studied for 4 decades and over 3 generations. 63.3% of the men and 59.8% of their children were upwardly mobile. 8 variables captured 28% of the explained variance in upward social mobility: IQ, mother's education, mother's occupation, boyhood ego strength, and four ego defense mechanisms--intellectualization, dissociation, sublimation, and anticipation. Of the 8 variables, intellectualization--the capacity to isolate ideation from the associated affect--explained the most unique variance, especially over 3 generations. Childhood relations of subjects with parents and father's IQ exerted no discernible effect on children's upward social mobility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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