Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



J Appl Dev Psychol. 2013 ; 34(5): 219–229.


© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


During adolescence, young people’s future aspirations and expectations begin to crystallize, especially in the domains of education and occupation. Much of the research in this area has emphasized development within a particular domain (e.g., education) and relations between aspirations and expectations across domains remain largely unexplored, resulting in a lack of information on how goals develop in tandem and affect each other. It is also unclear whether these developmental processes differ by gender and socioeconomic status. We tested reciprocal effects between occupational and educational goals using a longitudinal sample of 636 adolescents (52% boys). Results from dynamic systems models indicated change in occupational and educational goals across high school. For all youth, occupational aspirations predicted change in occupational expectations. Educational expectations predicted change in occupational aspirations for youth in high but not low parent education groups, and occupational expectations predicted change in educational expectations for girls but not boys.

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