Girls' and boys' developing interests in math and science: do parents matter?

Janis E Jacobs, Martha M Bleeker
New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 2004, (106): 5-21
Previous studies (for example, Bregman & Killen, 1999; Eccles, Wigfield, & Schiefele, 1998; Jacobs, 1991;Jacobs & Eccles, 2000) have demonstrated the important role that parents' attitudes play in shaping their children's later self-perceptions and achievement behaviors. Studies indicate that in the math and science arena, parents' perceptions of their children's abilities as well as their own values about math and science are related to their children's later self-perceptions and values for achieving in these domains. The previous work suggests that parents are conveying their attitudes and values about math to their children through their words and actions; however, little research has documented the ways in which parents' beliefs and specific behaviors might promote positive achievement attitudes and behaviors in their children. The goal of the study reported here was to document relations between parents' math and science--promotive behaviors and attitudes and their children's later activity choices, values, and achievement in these subjects.

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