The Educational and Career Adjustment of Mexican-Origin Youth in the Context of the 2007/2008 Economic Recession




Perez-Brena, Norma J.
Wheeler, Lorey A.
Rodriguez De Jesus, Sue A.
Updegraff, Kimberly A.
Umana-Taylor, Adriana J.

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Youth's transition out of high school is a complex process that is informed by youth's awareness of available opportunities and resources, social norms, and social belonging and responsibility. Using a quasi-experimental design, this study examined the educational and career adjustment (i.e., college attendance status, post-secondary education type, work status, and work quality) of Mexican-origin siblings who made the transition out of high school before (i.e., 2005 or earlier) or during the economic recession (i.e., 2007 or after). Participants were 246 Mexican-origin mothers, fathers, older siblings (50% female; 38% U.S. born), and younger siblings (51% female; 47% U.S. born). Our results showed that, even though siblings grew up in similar family environments, 2007 graduates (younger siblings) were less likely to attend college, be enrolled in a university compared to a community college, and reported working in lower quality jobs as compared to 2005 graduates (older siblings). Results also showed that high economic hardship reduced the adverse association between perceived discrimination and youth educational and career adjustment, and reduced the protective effect of family obligation values on youth adjustment.



college, economic downturn, family, life course perspective, Mexican-origin, career, Family and Consumer Sciences


Perez-Brena, N. J., Wheeler, L. A., Rodríguez De Jesús, S. A., Updegraff, K. A., & Umaña-Taylor, A. J. (2017). The educational and career adjustment of Mexican-origin youth in the context of the 2007/2008 economic recession. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 100, pp. 149–163.


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