Familial and Economic Influences on the Gender-Related Educational and Occupational Aspirations of Rural Adolescents

Judith L. Meece, Karyl J.S. Askew, Charlotte A. Agger, Bryan C. Hutchins, Soo-yong Byun


Economic, occupational, and social shifts in rural economies have influenced nuanced changes in the educational
and occupational aspirations of rural adolescent women and men. However, there is limited contemporary
research that examines the aspirations of rural adolescents at the beginning of the 21st century. Drawing on a
sample of 8,756 rural adolescents in the United States, we examine how familial, geographic, and economic
variables influence gender-related differences in educational and occupational aspirations. Findings revealed
significant gender differences, favoring girls, in youth’s educational aspirations, occupational aspirations, and
aspirations for nontraditional careers. Results highlight the importance of contextual variables such as parental
expectations, family income, and motivation variables in predicting gender-related aspirations of rural youth.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jedp.v4n1p238

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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