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The Role of Parental Values and Child-specific Expectations in the Science Motivation and Achievement of Adolescent Girls and Boys

Päivi Hannele Taskinen, Julia Dietrich, Bärbel Kracke


Expectancy-value models attach great importance to the role of parents in an adolescent’s motivational development and achievement-related choices. The present study examined the relationship between the science-related values and child-specific expectations of parents, and the learning- and future-oriented motivation and the science achievement of boys and girls. The sample consisted of N = 4188 adolescents from the German PISA sample (51.4% girls) and their parents. Structural equation modeling revealed positive associations between the values and expectations of parents and the individual characteristics of students. The associations between the values of parents and the motivation and achievement of students were significant, but rather weak. Parental expectations for their child pursuing a science-related career were more strongly related to student variables. Our analyses also revealed that the associations between the expectations of parents and the learning motivation and achievement of students were stronger for boys than for girls. We discuss our findings with respect to the potential role of parents as socializers for the motivation, achievement, and career choices of boys and girls as well as the role of children in eliciting parental expectations. 


family influence; parental values; parental expectations; motivation in science; science achievement; career aspirations in science; gender differences

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