The role of social context on future orientation and college preparatory behaviors among Texas high school students : Latino-White differences
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Prior research shows a positive correlation between years of education and overall health. Historically, Latinos have had lower levels of educational attainment than Whites and other ethnic groups in the United States. The current study explored how a student’s social context in sophomore year is associated with his/her college aspirations and college expectations, and how these factors then influence subsequent college preparatory behaviors and college application in senior year. Differences in the role of social context were explored in Latino students and White students. Secondary data analysis was conducted using the Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project (THEOP) dataset, which provided longitudinal data for 2,875 Texas high school students. Hopes and Fears theory of future orientation was used as the guiding framework for the analysis of future orientation. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to address the research questions. College preparatory behaviors and college application at senior year had the strongest associations with the social contextual variables at sophomore year that were most proximal to the students, namely family and friends. For all students, iv grade point average, graduation track, parent education in sophomore year were all significant predictors of college preparatory behaviors and college application in senior year. Parental encouragement to go to college in sophomore year was a significant predictor of college preparatory behaviors and college application at senior year among Latino students, but not among White students. Conversely, having more than three friends who planned to attend college or having a sibling who dropped out of high school was predictive of college preparatory behaviors and college application among White students, but not among Latino students. Implications for interventions and future research are discussed.