Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Kathleen E. Piercy


Kathleen E. Piercy


This study used the qualitative technique of focused interviewing to understand the educational and occupational aspirations of ten Latino youth and their parents in a small town in rural Utah. The qualitative nature of this study allowed for an in-depth look into each parent's aspirations for themselves and for their youth, each youth's aspirations, the barriers to aspirational attainment for both parents and youth, the perceived parental support in these families, and their perceived needs for aspirational attainment. This study used two open-ended interview forms and a 12- question demographic questionnaire to collect data from each of the 30 persons.

This sample was made up of primarily Mexican immigrants, with five youth of each sex and a mean age of 14.6 years. Using modified analytic induction and the organizational capabilities of QSR NUD*IST, a qualitative software package, themes and subthemes were created from the interview transcripts. These themes were examined as to their interrelatedness within families, and in relation to all the families in the study.

Most Latino parents' aspirations were found to transfer to their youth. However, only half of the parents were aware of their youth's aspirations, and few parents had discussed them with their youth. Though all parents wanted their youth to go to college, they did not know how to get them there.

Parents felt that a lack of understanding of the pathway to their aspirations, a lack of English proficiency, and a lack of time were real barriers to realizing their aspirations. Youth and their parents indicated that parental educational support was rather limited due to parents' insufficient English abilities. Parents indicated that they needed education and access to information to achieve the aspirations they had for themselves. Continued work needs to be done to provide Latino families with additional education and training so that these families may attain their aspirations. Programs for youth and families are needed to help foster these aspirations and the understanding of how to achieve them.