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Socioeconomic status as a significant moderator in the association between adolescent externalizing problems and parents

Tan Pei Yee, Bibiana (2016) Socioeconomic status as a significant moderator in the association between adolescent externalizing problems and parents. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Students from low socioeconomic areas are often underrepresented in universites across Australia. This has resulted in a focus to increase university participation of low SES students in Australia through increasing aspirations. In particular, students with externalizing problems have been largely excluded from the literature and the effect on their educational aspirations remain unknown. However, studies into aspirations have determined that students’ educational aspirations remain relatively invariant across SES, and that parental aspirations are a major influence of educational aspirations. It is unknown parental aspirations would remain invariant in the face of externalizing problem. Limited research has suggested that parental aspirations may be negatively affected by students’ behavioural problems. Additionally, SES has also been implicated as one of the strongest determinants of parental aspirations. As such, this research examined the influence of externalizing problems on parental aspirations, moderated by SES. A self-report survey was administered to 142 parents and data was analyzed using Moderated Multiple Hierarchical Analysis. Results indicated that externalizing problems did not impact on parental aspirations which support Appadurai’s contentions that aspirations are invariant. Results further indicated that SES significantly moderated the association. Further analysis indicated that in the low SES samples, parental aspirations increased as levels of externalizing problems increased, while no effect was observed in the high SES sample. Overall, the results provide tentative support for Appadurai’s theory of navigational capacity, which supports the concept of aspirations being invariant, but resources available leads to differing capacities to aspire.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Supervisor(s): Watson, Stuart and Dziurawiec, Suzanne
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