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Welsh, Marilyn

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The current study investigated the application of classic attainment models, both direct and indirect effects, in the predication of career expectations and likelihood of compromise. The results indicated that among high school students (N=200) in grades 10-12 there is no direct effect of socio economic status (SES; as measured by parent education and occupation) on career compromise (aspirations exceeding expectations). Similarly, educational expectations are not directly related to the compromise of occupational expectations. Results of exploratory analysis suggest that career compromise is best explained by academic achievement and parent expectations. In an analysis of the process by which social class is transmitted to occupational expectations, results suggested no direct effect of SES on occupational expectations. However, there was a direct effect of educational expectations on occupational expectations. Given the finding demonstrating a direct effect of SES on educational expectations, the path from SES to occupational expectations appears to be indirect and mediated through educational expectations. Building on the importance of educational expectations in the prediction of occupational expectations, the results indicated that self-efficacy, aligned expectations, and perceived parent expectations explain educational expectations. Of the variables, perceived parent expectations were significantly related to increased levels of educational expectations. Overall it appears that the effect of SES on occupational expectations is mediated by educational expectations; therefore, individuals of lower SES who have increased educational expectations are more likely to have occupational expectations similar to those of their higher SES peers. Moreover, increasing parent expectations is positively associated with educational expectations among individuals of various SES levels. The results of the current study provide insight into the mechanism involved in the intergenerational transmission of social class, notably the importance of educational expectations and significance of the educational expectations parents of various SES levels have for their children.

Abstract Format



career compromise; educational expectations; occupational expectations; parent expectations; social class transmission


153 pages

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