University of Illinois at Chicago
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Motivated for Change: Exploring the Factors that Shape the Aspirations of Latinx Youth in Chicago

thesis
posted on 2023-12-01, 00:00 authored by Juan Ramón Sevilla
Current research on youth and young adults increasingly suggests that aspirations, one’s hopes and dreams for the future, are complex, multidimensional constructs. This complexity becomes especially evident in the case of Latinx young adults, who may grapple with conflicting goals when considering their educational and career aspirations. However, few studies have explored Latinx young adults’ aspirations using a multidimensional ecological approach. This study utilizes data from in-depth interviews focused on post-high school plans and conducted with 16 Latinx young adults (Female n=11, Male n=5, Age: M=18, SD=1.5) in 2018. Through an inductive approach to thematic analysis, five overarching themes across family, school, and neighborhood contexts emerged: (1) Different family members carried out multiple roles, including providing instrumental support, serving as sources of motivation, and guiding aspirations; (2) educators imparted guidance and mentorship; (3) college preparatory and afterschool programs offered avenues for exploration; and (4) students navigated societal and peer expectations while pursuing their goals. 5) Neighborhoods fostered a sense of community and fueled aspirations for change. The study concludes by emphasizing the importance of understanding structural factors that may hinder youth from achieving their aspirations and acknowledging their agency in creating meaningful lives. This understanding will enable educators and policymakers to better support youth as they transition into adulthood and pursue their hopes and dreams for the future.

History

Advisor

Amanda Roy

Department

Psychology

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois Chicago

Degree Level

  • Masters

Degree name

MA, Master of Arts

Committee Member

Jessica Shaw Sarai Coba-Rodriguez

Thesis type

application/pdf

Language

  • en

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