25-06-2022 | Empirical Research
Parent-Child Discrepancy in Educational Aspirations and Depressive Symptoms in Early Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 10/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Adolescents may have educational aspirations that are different from their parents’ educational aspirations for them, and such discrepancy may affect adolescents’ psychological adjustment. This longitudinal study examined how parent-child discrepancy in educational aspirations relate to depressive symptoms in early adolescents, both concurrently and prospectively, when controlling for parents’ depressive symptoms. Moreover, parent and child gender differences in the effects were explored. Data were collected from 3799 students (52.0% boys; Mage = 10.78) and their fathers and mothers when the students were in fifth and seventh grade over 2 years. Polynomial regression with response surface analysis was used to analyze the effects of parent-child aspiration discrepancy on depressive symptoms separately in four parent-child gender dyads. Cross-sectional results demonstrated that for all parent-child gender dyads, congruently higher aspirations were related to lower depressive symptoms, and greater incongruence in aspirations was related to higher depressive symptoms. Moreover, for parent-son dyads, adolescents whose aspirations were lower than those of their parents reported higher depressive symptoms than adolescents whose aspirations were higher than those of their parents. However, longitudinal results further showed that, for father-son dyads only, congruently higher aspirations were related to increased depressive symptoms over time, while for parent-daughter dyads only, greater incongruence in aspirations was related to increased depressive symptoms over time. The findings support the importance of considering parent-child discrepancy when exploring the role of educational aspirations in adolescents’ psychological adjustment and call for a more detailed and rigorous analysis and interpretation of this relationship.