Mexican-origin Adolescents' Educational Expectation Trajectories: Intersection of Nativity, Sex, and Socioeconomic Status




Perez-Brena, Norma J.
Delgado, Melissa Y.
Rodriguez De Jesus, Sue A.
Updegraff, Kimberly A.
Umana-Taylor, Adriana J.

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Expectancy value theory and a cultural-ecological framework are integrated in this study to examine the trajectories of 246 Mexican-origin adolescents' (M age = 12.52, SD age = 0.58; 51% girls, 62% U.S.-born) educational expectations across eight years. Findings from a multilevel growth model revealed that early adolescents expected to complete a post-bachelor's degree, but expectations declined in middle adolescence and improved in late adolescence. This pattern was more pronounced for immigrant, compared to U.S-born, adolescents. Higher socioeconomic status was associated with higher expectations. Boys and girls differed in their trajectories, such that boys showed a curvilinear trajectory and girls showed a stable trajectory. Nativity moderated these sex differences. Immigrant boys showed curvilinear trajectories that dipped in middle adolescence and immigrant girls showed a declining trajectory. In contrast, U.S.-born boys and girls showed linear and stable trajectories. The discussion addresses suggestions for targeted interventions with at-risk subgroups during a sensitive period in adolescence.



adolescence, educational expectations, nativity, sex, socioeconomic status, Mexican-origin, Family and Consumer Sciences


Perez-Brena, N. J., Delgado, M. Y., Rodríguez De Jesús, S. A., Updegraff, K. A., & Umaña-Taylor, A. J. (2017). Mexican-origin adolescents’ educational expectation trajectories: Intersection of nativity, sex, and socioeconomic status. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 48, pp. 14–24.


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