Those who enjoyed an idyllic childhood could find that life has a nasty trick in store because, it seems, they are more likely to divorce.
Researchers found that men and women with a stable upbringing could have more confidence and so be more ready to leave a failing relationship.
For the long-term project at Cambridge University, thousands of Britons born in one week in 1946 were studied.
When they were in their teens, teachers rated them for happiness, friendliness and energy. Problems such as restlessness, disobedience and anxiety were noted.
Decades later, information about their lives was also collected and analysed. Professor Felicia Huppert, director of the university’s Well-being Institute, commented on the findings on marriage break-up.
‘One factor might be that positive children have higher self-esteem than their peers and are more willing to leave a marriage if it is not meeting their needs,’ she said.
Other findings were more predictable.