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05-04-2017 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 10/2017

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 10/2017

Adolescent Agentic Orientations: Contemporaneous Family Influence, Parental Biography and Intergenerational Development

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 10/2017
Auteurs:
Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson, Steven Hitlin

Abstract

Agentic orientations developed in adolescence have been linked to better health, well-being, and achievements in the years following. This study examines longitudinal parental influences on the development of adolescent children’s agentic orientations, captured by the core constructs of mastery beliefs and generalized life expectations. Drawing on multigenerational panel data from the United States (1991–2011), the study examines contemporaneous family factors, but also how parental biographies (their own transition to adulthood) and parents’ own adolescent agentic orientations influence their adolescent children. Study adolescents were 46% male, 52% white, and 15.6 years old on average. The findings indicate that parents’ early orientations and experiences in the transition to adulthood have little effect on their children’s mastery beliefs, but that parents’ generalized life expectations (in adolescence) and having married before having the child were associated with their children’s more optimistic life expectations. Contemporaneous family income and optimistic expectations among parents-as-adolescents were somewhat substitutable as positive influences on adolescents’ optimistic life expectations. The findings contribute to our understanding of intergenerational and over-time influences on these key adolescent orientations.

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