Parents' Roles in Shaping Early Adolescents' Occupational Aspirations



Relations among dimensions of parenting and adolescents' occupational aspirations were examined in two specific domains: academics and sports. The sample consisted of 444 seventh graders, with approximately equal numbers of African American and European American males and females, from two-parent nondivorced families. Multiple measures were used as indicators of parents' values and behaviors, youths' values and beliefs, positive identification with parents, and adolescents' occupational aspirations. In the academic domain, parents' values predicted youths' values directly rather than indirectly through their behaviors. In contrast, fathers' behaviors mediated the relation between parents' and youths' values in the sports domain. Positive identification was directly related to adolescents' values (especially about academics); however, positive identification did not moderate the transmission of values from parent to child in either domain. Parents' values predicted adolescents' occupational aspirations via both direct and indirect pathways. Similar results were obtained for African American and European American males and females. These findings highlight the potential role of parents as socializers of achievement-related values, and, ultimately, adolescents' occupational visions of themselves in the future.