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Don’t aim too high for your kids: parental over-aspiration undermines students’ learning in mathematics

Murayama, K., Pekrun, R., Suzuki, M., Marsh, H. W. and Lichtenfeld, S. (2016) Don’t aim too high for your kids: parental over-aspiration undermines students’ learning in mathematics. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 111 (5). pp. 766-779. ISSN 1939-1315

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000079

Abstract/Summary

Previous research has suggested that parents’ aspirations for their children’s academic attainment can have a positive influence on children’s actual academic performance. Possible negative effects of parental over-aspiration, however, have found little attention in the psychological literature. Employing a dual-change score model with longitudinal data from a representative sample of German schoolchildren and their parents (N = 3,530; grades 5 to 10), we showed that parental aspiration and children’s mathematical achievement were linked by positive reciprocal relations over time. Importantly, we also found that parental aspiration that exceeded their expectation (i.e., over-aspiration) had negative reciprocal relations with children’s mathematical achievement. These results were fairly robust after controlling for a variety of demographic and cognitive variables such as children’s gender, age, intelligence, school type, and family SES. The results were also replicated with an independent sample of US parents and their children. These findings suggest that unrealistically high parental aspiration can be detrimental for children’s achievement.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Social
ID Code:44843
Publisher:American Psychological Association

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