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Research in Social Stratification and Mobility

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Social work with youth, Youth -- Mental health services, Young adults -- Mental health services, Social work with children


Psycho-social dispositions and parental influence are central in early status attainment models. We apply the Social Structure and Personality framework to investigate the contributions of adolescents’ psycho-social dispositions to social mobility, and then the contributions of parents’ socioeconomic status (SES) and parenting to adolescents’ psycho-social dispositions. The Kaplan Longitudinal and Multigenerational Study includes data on two generations of respondents: the first-generation of respondents was observed from seventh grade in 1971 until midlife, and the second-generation, their children, was observed from adolescence to young adulthood. We find that upward social mobility is inhibited by poor psycho-social dispositions, particularly by negative self-feelings. SES, in turn, also affects psycho-social dispositions. Family income is more relevant (i.e., variance explained) than parental education for adolescents’ locus of control, while parental education is more relevant for adolescents’ negative self-feelings. Finally, our findings indicate that parenting can disrupt the cycle of social reproduction, with lower SES adolescents exhibiting lower levels of negative self-feelings if their parents are more attached or less authoritarian.


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