College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

12-2009

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

Psychology

Keywords

aspirations, expectations, latino, barriers, transition

Abstract

This study uses a possible selves framework to examine the future aspirations and expectation of Latino youth in the transition from high school. A mixed-methods design was used to explore the nature of youth's educational and occupational aspirations and expectations, including the gaps between expectations and aspirations and the gaps between expectations and behavior, and to examine the role of barriers and social support in youth's aspirations and expectations. Thirty-two Latino adolescents completed a quantitative survey while seniors in high school and then participated in one-on-one qualitative interviews on year later during their transition from high school. Results supported the hypotheses that there was a gap between participants' expectations and aspirations at T1 and T2, and that participants' aspirations and expectations were lower at T2 than T1. Qualitative data analyses were conducted in order to explore the nature of participants' aspirations and expectations and the role of barriers and social support in aspirations and expectations during the transition. New themes also emerged, such as the role of values and expectations of others, in the development of possible selves. Results suggest important changes to possible selves theory in order to make it relevant for low income Latino youth in the transition from high school. These results contribute to sparse research on the gap between aspirations and expectation in Latino youth, and help to explain the role of barriers experienced during the transition from high school in future aspirations and expectations.

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