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Ecological correlates of adolescents' aspirations: Gender-related differences

Contemporary Educational Psychology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0361-476x(85)90030-x
  • Ecology
  • Education


Abstract The study examined to what extent the educational and occupational aspirations of adolescents were related to their perceptions of different learning contexts after taking into account associations between the aspirations and earlier measures of individual characteristics and family environments. Data were collected from 516 Australian 16-year-olds (266 females, 250 males) to assess their perceptions of family, teacher, peer, and school support for learning. Five years earlier data had been collected of their social status, ability, family environments, academic achievement, and attitudes to school. Blockwise selection and the calculation of sheaf coefficients were used in path models to examine the influences on aspirations. For educational aspirations, most of the effects of the measures from the initial survey were mediated by an ecological construct that gauged the adolescents' perceptions of parent-teacher support for learning. Occupational aspirations of females were influenced only by ecological variables while for males they were related either directly or indirectly to all the ecological and individual measures in the analysis. The findings indicated the significance for aspiration formation of an ecological construct defined by adolescents' perceptions of the support and encouragement for learning by fathers, mothers, and teachers. Further aspiration research is suggested to explore the possible implications of this ecological Construct.

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