The legacy of London 2012 appears to already be benefiting children's psychology with a survey of more than 11,000 seven-year-olds showing they have "big career plans and emotional strength".

Study lead author Prof Eirini Flouri, from London University's Institute of Education, said: "Their [children's] ambitions may reflect their sense of hope for the future.

"Early aspirations may therefore be a very good indicator of a cluster of characteristics associated with resilience - or the lack of it - such as self-perception of competence or a feeling of hopelessness."

Even though researchers acknowledge that children's plans are more dreams than ambitions at age seven, they say the need for goals is key as "ambitious children from poor homes had fewer behavioural problems than those with lesser dreams".

The 12 most popular occupations with seven-year-olds were teacher, scientist, hairdresser, sports player, firefighter, police officer, artist, entertainer, animal carer, vet, doctor and builder.

Researchers based their study on data from the Millennium Cohort Study, which has been following more than 19,000 children from all over the the UK since they were born in 2000-1, and cross-referenced the child's emotional state based on questionnairies with parents.

Posted 14/09/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com