Self-efficacy beliefs as shapers of children's aspirations and career trajectories

Child Dev. 2001 Jan-Feb;72(1):187-206. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.00273.


This prospective study tested with 272 children a structural model of the network of sociocognitive influences that shape children's career aspirations and trajectories. Familial socioeconomic status is linked to children's career trajectories only indirectly through its effects on parents' perceived efficacy and academic aspirations. The impact of parental self-efficacy and aspirations on their children's perceived career efficacy and choice is, in turn, entirely mediated through the children's perceived efficacy and academic aspirations. Children's perceived academic, social, and self-regulatory efficacy influence the types of occupational activities for which they judge themselves to be efficacious both directly and through their impact on academic aspirations. Perceived occupational self-efficacy gives direction to the kinds of career pursuits children seriously consider for their life's work and those they disfavor. Children's perceived efficacy rather than their actual academic achievement is the key determinant of their perceived occupational self-efficacy and preferred choice of worklife. Analyses of gender differences reveal that perceived occupational self-efficacy predicts traditionality of career choice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adolescent
  • Aspirations, Psychological*
  • Career Choice*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Prospective Studies
  • Self Concept
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors