Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Kathy Kuipers

Commitee Members

Sergio Romero, John Sommers-Flanagan


aspirations, college, health, identity, self-esteem, socio-economic status


University of Montana


This study examines relationships between socio-economic status and self-esteem, college aspirations, and parental influences on healthy living among adolescents. The strength of one’s identification with SES is considered as an intervening variable for the relationships between SES and self-esteem and between SES and college aspirations. Data were collected through the use of a questionnaire survey administered to 138 high school seniors expecting to graduate in spring, 2007and students previously from the 2007 class who had dropped out of school. The sample was taken from seniors and dropouts in a small city located in the Rocky Mountain west with a population of approximately 30,000. The data analysis supports the research hypotheses that socio-economic status will be positively correlated with college aspirations and parents’ encouragement to make healthy lifestyle choices. Results indicate that the higher an adolescent’s family socio-economic status, the higher his or her college aspirations. Results also indicate that the higher family SES, the more likely it is that parents will provide their children with encouragement to make choices that lead to healthy living. Information from this study can be used in developing strategies to improve the likelihood that lower income adolescents aspire to attend a 4-year college.

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© Copyright 2007 Lisa Ann Speegle