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Individual-level predictors of young children’s aspirations

Moulton, V; Flouri, E; Joshi, H; Sullivan, A; (2016) Individual-level predictors of young children’s aspirations. Research Papers in Education 10.1080/02671522.2016.1225797. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Often young children already have some ideas about what they want to do in the future. Using data from a large UK cohort study, we investigated the individual determinants of seven-year-old children’s aspirations, controlling for parental socio-economic background and parental involvement in learning. At age 7, not all children’s aspirations were unrealistic (55.6% of children aspired to common occupations), few (1.2%) were fantasy, but most were gender-typical. White children had lower occupational aspirations and were more likely to have uncertain future orientations than other ethnic groups. The antecedents of fantasy aspirations, more typical of younger children, were difficult temperament and low school engagement. Uncertain aspirations were related to higher cognitive ability but also to lower school engagement. Higher occupational aspirations were directly related to higher family socio-economic status, and higher occupational and more intrinsic aspirations were associated with more school engagement (in turn, higher in girls and ethnic minority children). Boys, compared to girls, had lower, more extrinsic and more masculine aspirations, but were also more likely than girls to aspire to rare jobs and have fantasy or uncertain aspirations.

Type: Article
Title: Individual-level predictors of young children’s aspirations
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02671522.2016.1225797
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2016.1225797
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 the author(s). Published by informa UK Limited, trading as taylor & Francis Group. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Aspirations, children, Millennium Cohort Study (MCS)
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1521488
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