Mexican American Seventh Graders' Future Work and Family Plans: Associations With Cultural Experiences and Adjustment

Emily Cansler, Kimberly A. Updegraff, Sandra D. Simpkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We describe Mexican American seventh graders' expectations for future work and family roles and investigate links between patterns of future expectations and adolescents' cultural experiences and adjustment. Adolescents participated in home interviews and a series of seven nightly phone calls. Five unique patterns of adolescents' future expectations were identified (N = 246): Career-Oriented, Independent, Family-Oriented, Early, and Inconsistent. Career-Oriented adolescents had the highest socioeconomic status and contact with the United States (e.g., generation status) whereas Family-Oriented adolescents had the lowest. Cultural orientations, values, and involvement also varied across groups. For example, Career-Oriented adolescents reported significantly higher familism values compared to Inconsistent adolescents. Clusters also differed on adjustment: Career-Oriented and Family-Oriented adolescents reported higher parental warmth and less risky behavior compared to Independent and Inconsistent adolescents. These findings underscore the multifaceted nature of adolescents' future expectations and the diversity in cultural experiences among Mexican-origin youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-339
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Early Adolescence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • adjustment
  • cluster analysis (Sleipner)
  • culture
  • decision making
  • goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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