Adolescents' Occupational and Educational Aspirations and Expectations: Links to High School Activities and Adult Educational Attainment

Sarah J. Beal, Lisa J. Crockett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Scopus citations

Abstract

This longitudinal study explored adolescents' future-oriented cognitions, current activities, and later educational attainment using data from 317 adolescents (55% female; mean age = 14.98 years, SD = 0.85) followed into early adulthood. Aspirations and expectations regarding work and education showed modest stability from year to year. Exploration of the reciprocal relations between these cognitions and adolescents' activities supported both unidirectional and bidirectional effects, with different patterns emerging for aspirations and expectations. In multiple regression analyses, future-oriented cognitions predicted adult educational attainment; follow-up analyses indicated that the effect of adolescents' expectations was partially mediated by participation in extracurricular activities. These results suggest a potentially important influence of adolescents' future-oriented cognitions on their current behavior and future attainments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • adolescence
  • aspirations
  • educational attainment
  • expectations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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