Early Adolescents' Career Aspirations: A Qualitative Study of Perceived Barriers and Family Support among Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Adolescents

Nancy E. Hill, Cynthia Ramirez, Larry E. Dumka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


Using qualitative methods and data, this study examined career aspirations, perceived barriers, and family support among low-income, African American, Euro-American, Mexican American, and Mexican Immigrant early adolescents. Based on themes grounded in the narratives, gender and ethnic differences emerged. Girls were more likely to express an understanding of the requirements for reaching their goals than were boys. Mexican girls were more likely to express traditionally female goals than were other girls. Adolescents of Mexican descent perceived fewer barriers for reaching their goals than did African Americans or Euro-Americans, Negative relationships were observed between career aspirations and perceived barriers and between perceived barriers and family support. The implications of the findings were discussed, in addition to directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-959
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes



  • African Americans
  • Career aspirations
  • Mexican Americans
  • Mexican Immigrants
  • Perceived barriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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