Encouragement for Educational Aspirations: The Role of Parents, Peers and Counselors when Explaining Group Differences

Yun Zhou, Arizona State University

This study uses longitudinal data to explore the impact of parental encouragement in 1988 on students’ educational aspirations in 1992. It distinguishes parental encouragement into parental involvement, communication and family supervision. Moreover, the study tries to make full use of NELS: 88 dataset by using base year’s and 1990’s characteristics to examine their effects on educational plans in 1992. The results show that parental involvement and family communication help motivate children’s higher aspirations. As a result, students whose parents have more knowledge of children’s school life have higher educational aspirations. However, strict family discipline does not help promote higher educational aspirations. Compared with minority groups, parental involvement has the most impact on educational aspirations for Whites. For Asians, the impact of parental involvement is lower but still significant. On the contrary, family discussion has least impact for Hispanics. Meanwhile, family communication has similarly significant impacts among Asians, Blacks and Whites.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being