This study explored a longitudinal data set of 4361 adults (2119 males and 2239 females) to examine factors that influence adult vocabulary task performance. Data were collected at birth, in childhood (age 10 years), during teenage years (age 16 years), and in adulthood (ages 30, 34, and 42 years) to examine the effects of family social status, childhood cognitive ability, teenager locus of control, psychological distress, educational qualifications, and occupational prestige in adulthood on an adult vocabulary task—an index of crystallized intelligence. Structural equation modeling showed that childhood cognitive ability, teenager locus of control, education, and occupation were all significant and direct predictors of adult vocabulary task performance. Parental social status affected the outcome variable mediated through educational qualifications. The strongest predictor of adult vocabulary task performance was childhood cognitive ability, followed by educational qualifications and locus of control. Finally, limitations were acknowledged.
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