Explore Mother’s Educational Expectations and Aspirations: A Case from China


  • HuiGuo Liu Indiana University




social psychological mechanisms, educational expectations, educational aspirations, relative economic status, optimism


The research presented explores determinants of mother’s educational expectations and aspirations. In contrast to the effects of social economic status (SES) that have been examined in previous research, I have focused on a set of social psychological variables. With the help of data collected from the Gansu Survey of Children and Families, a survey of Chinese 9 to 12-year-old children in rural areas, I have analyzed mothers’ educational expectations and aspirations for their children using multinomial logistic regression. Evidence suggests important effects of personality (specifically confidence) and subjective economic status on mothers’ educational expectations. This lends support to the “pushed-from-behind” theory of attainment in which educational decisions are at least partly driven by opaque (beyond individual consciousness) social psychological mechanisms. The results call for further incorporation of social psychological variables into scholarship on educational decisions, and more generally, into the field of educational stratification. Moreover, the results also shed light on the theoretical and conceptual differentiation between educational expectations and aspirations.

Author Biography

HuiGuo Liu, Indiana University

HuiGuo Liu is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology from Indiana University.


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How to Cite

Liu, H. (2015). Explore Mother’s Educational Expectations and Aspirations: A Case from China. International Journal of Sociology of Education, 4(2), 128–157. https://doi.org/10.17583/rise.2015.1428