Penn State research team finds four profiles of adolescent future expectations: family focused, professional/service focused, high expectations, and low expectations
Adolescents are tasked with navigating competing priorities, including whether to marry, have children, pursue a job/career, go to college, and contribute to society. A paper recently published in Developmental Psychology describes one of the first studies to examine how adolescents in a developing country such as Cambodia negotiate substantially greater access to educational and professional opportunities against a backdrop of strong religious and family traditions.
Bo Cleveland, Penn State professor of human development and family studies, led the research team that developed, conducted, and analyzed a survey of students in six schools in and around Siem Reap, a city in Cambodia. Their survey of 580 students in grades 7-12 asked about their perceived likelihood of achieving various life goals across familial, educational, vocational and community-oriented domains.
“Siem Reap’s unique combination of rich tradition and rapid change provided an important look at the potential implications of such rapid economic and social change during a critical developmental period for adolescents’ future orientation,” said Kyler Knapp, doctoral candidate in human development and family studies and the paper’s first author.
The research team applied latent profile analysis (LPA) to the survey data to reveal four profiles of future expectations: family focused, professional/service focused, high expectations, and low expectations. LPA allowed the researchers to identify subgroups of adolescents who shared similar characteristics and future expectations.