Children's Career Expectations and Parents' Jobs: Intergenerational (Dis)continuities

Íris M. Oliveira, Erik J. Porfeli, Maria do Céu Taveira, Bora Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Children develop career expectations as they increase self-knowledge and perceive societal affordances and barriers to life roles. Parents are powerful agents in the socialization of children to work, transmitting occupational concepts that influence children's career development. The authors used Gottfredson's (1981) and Holland's (1973) theories to test associations between children's career expectations and parents' jobs in terms of gender, prestige, and interest typology among same-sex and cross-sex child-parent dyads. Data were collected from 185 Portuguese children (51.4% boys, 48.6% girls; Mage = 10.41 years) from 2-parent families. Children reported their parents' jobs and shared personal career expectations. Correlation and linear regression results indicated that fathers' male-dominated jobs put boys at risk of gender-based circumscription of career expectations. An intergenerational cycle of prestige inequalities was also evidenced, although parents seemed to support children's exploration of various interest areas. Future research could explore these relationships across family structures. Practice should foster children's in-breadth career exploration and engage parents as key partners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-77
Number of pages15
JournalCareer Development Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through a doctoral grant (SFRH/BD/84162/2012), with the support of national funds from the Ministry of Education and Science as well as the European Social Fund through the Human Capital Operational Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the National Career Development Association. All rights reserved.


  • career expectations
  • childhood career development
  • family
  • intergenerational occupational transmission
  • parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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