Teenage aspirations for future careers and occupational outcomes

  • Schoon I
  • Parsons S
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In a follow-up study of over 17,000 individuals born 12 years apart (in 1958 and 1970) this article investigates the formation and realization of teenage career aspirations in a changing sociohistorical context. Two types of analytical models, a mediating model and a contextual systems model, were used to analyze the processes by which the effects of social structure influence teenage aspirations and subsequent occupational attainment. Both models suggest that teenage aspirations in combination with educational attainments are a major driving force in the occupational development of young people and that they mediate the effects of socioeconomic background factors. The contextual system model is an elaboration of the mediating model, providing additional insights into the effects of distal and proximal contexts. Differences in the experiences of young people growing up 12 years apart indicate that the sociohistorical context plays a key role in shaping occupational progression. For the later born cohort the importance of educational credentials has increased, both in influencing teenage aspirations and predicting adult occupational outcomes. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adult occupational attainment
  • Changing sociohistorical context
  • Teenage aspirations

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