Student-perceived mothers' and fathers' beliefs, mathematics and English motivations, and career choices

Rebecca Lazarides, Helen M.G. Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


According to Eccles and Jacobs' (1986) parent socialization model, parents' gendered ability and value beliefs influence girls' and boys' interpretations of those beliefs, and hence students' domain-specific valuing of tasks and competence beliefs and subsequent career plans. Studies have rarely analyzed how both student-perceived mothers' and fathers' beliefs affect girls' and boys' task values, success expectancies, and career plans across domains. This study analyzed survey data of 459 students (262 boys) assessed through Grades 9, 10, and 11 from three coeducational secondary schools in Sydney, Australia. Longitudinal structural equation models revealed gendered value transmission pathways for girls in mathematics. Although mathematics test scores did not vary statistically significantly, girls reported statistically significantly lower mothers' ability beliefs for them in mathematics than boys at Time 1, which led to their statistically significantly lower mathematics intrinsic value at Time 2 and mathematics-related career plans at Time 3. Such gendered pathways did not occur in English. Matched same-gender effects and gendered pathways in parent socialization processes were evident; perceived mothers' value beliefs were more strongly related to girls' than boys' importance values in English. Student-perceived fathers' ability beliefs positively predicted boys', not girls', importance value in mathematics. Implications for educational practice emphasize the need to target girls' and boys' interest when aiming to enhance their mathematical career motivations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)826-841
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • adolescence
  • mathematics
  • task values
  • parents’ beliefs
  • teachers’ beliefs

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