Parents' Educational Aspirations: Fostering Youth's Competence, Intrinsic Motivation, and Educational Aspirations

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Aceves, Lorena
Graduate Program:
Human Development and Family Studies
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
August 24, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Mayra Y Bamaca, Thesis Advisor
  • Scott David Gest, Committee Member
  • Mexican-origin youth
  • academic competence
  • intrinsic motivaiton
  • Latino adolescents
  • parental and youth educational aspirations
Educational research on Latino adolescents has largely focused on the influence of familial and cultural values, but less on the influence of academic competence and intrinsic motivation. With a sample of 549 Mexican-origin families, the current study examined the role of parental educational aspirations on youth educational aspirations and how this association was mediated by individual factors. Specifically, mother and father educational aspirations in 5th grade were examined as predictors of youth educational aspirations in 10th grade. Further, the mediating role of youth’s academic competence in 7th grade and intrinsic motivation in 9th grade was explored. Lastly, potential gender differences in expected associations were examined. Results in the full model indicated that both mothers and fathers educational aspirations were equally important for youth educational aspirations. In the gender models, mothers’ educational expectations contributed to youth educational aspirations in 10th grade for girls but not for boys. Findings also showed that the association between academic competence and intrinsic motivation was equally important for Mexican-origin girls and boys. Altogether, findings point to the key role that both mothers and fathers play in Mexican-origin youth educational outcomes.