Effects of parental cultural and economic status on adolescents’ life course preferences

M.G. Keijer, I. Nagel, A.C. Liefbroer

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article examines to what extent adolescents' ideas about their future life course in the professional and family domain are influenced by the cultural and economic status of their parents, and to what extent these influences are mediated by parents' own preferences for their child's future life course and the position that the child occupies in the educational system. This issue is studied using data on secondary school students in 60 schools throughout the Netherlands. More than 1,500 adolescents, aged 14-17 years, were surveyed about their future plans, preferences, and ambitions. In addition, their parents also filled out a questionnaire on the future plans of their child. We found that parents' cultural status generally has a stronger effect on their children's life plans than parents' economic status. Furthermore, these effects were mediated both by parents' own preferences for their children's future life course and by the child's level of education. Status effects were found for both the family and the professional domain. Furthermore, only limited gender differences were observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-618
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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