The Occupational Stereotypes and Expectations for Their Children Held by Mothers Representing Different Ethnic Communities in Miami1


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    The present research was supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation. The authors would like to express their appreciation for the support given by the Dade County School Board, with special thanks to Dr. Sylvia Rothfarb. Equally supportive was the faculty at Florida International University, in particular Professors Marvin Dunn and Janet Parker. Special thanks to Karen Ruggiero and Sonia Herten-Greaven for their help with statistical analyses.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Donald M. Taylor, Department of Psychology, McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada. e-mail:


The study focuses on the occupational expectations and aspirations that mothers, representing 5 different ethnic groups and 2 social classes, have for their children. An intergroup perspective was adopted by considering the occupational stereotypes that mothers have of the different ethnic groups, and the extent to which ethnic group membership influences hiring decisions. The results indicate that there exist very clear ethno-occupational stereotypes, and that these influence hiring decisions. However, despite wide variation in the occupational status in the stereotypes of different ethnic groups, mothers had universally high expectations for their children. The extent to which these represent optimism or false hope is addressed.