JOURNAL ARTICLE

Gender differences in motivational pathways to college for middle class African American youths

Dana Wood, Beth Kurtz-Costes, Kristine E Copping
Developmental Psychology 2011, 47 (4): 961-8
21574704
Using a sample of predominantly middle-class African American adolescents and parents (N = 424), the authors tested a path model linking parental expectations for children's future educational attainment, youths' motivation during Grade 11, and youths' subsequent on-time postsecondary educational progress. Parents' expectations were positively related to adolescents' educational attainment aspirations, attainment expectations, utility values (i.e., beliefs about the usefulness of education), and perceptions of racial barriers to upward mobility. Relationships between parents' expectations and youths' aspirations and expectations were mediated by youths' perceptions of parents' expectations. For boys, but not girls, Grade 11 educational expectations and utility values each uniquely predicted college attendance 1 year after high school graduation. In addition, boys' perceptions of racial barriers were negatively related to subsequent postsecondary progress through their influence on values. Findings underscore the importance of academic achievement motivation as a developmental resource for African American boys and suggest that boys are especially likely to benefit from interventions promoting positive motivational beliefs.

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