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Particularities of parental influence in the perception of the value of post-secondary level studies in youths: a longitudinal qualitative analysis

Marie-France Noël, Sylvain Bourdon, Anne Brault-Labbé

Research Framework: This research is devoted to looking at the motivational dynamics of post-secondary level Quebec youths based on the perception of the value of studies, taking courses, programs and studying in general. The perceived value of studies is a judgement that is based on four characteristics (Eccles, 2005; Noël, 2014): interest, usefulness, the value of doing and various costs.
Objectives: This article examines the influence of parents on the perception of the value of studies by contrasting parental influence with those of peers and educators.
Methodology: An interpretive qualitative analysis was conducted based on 186 semi-structured interviews over a period of five years with 36 post-secondary level youths. These interviews were conducted as a part of the enquête Famille, réseaux et persévérance au collégial (Bourdon and Charbonneau) and a secondary analysis conducted as part of doctoral research.
Results: The results showed that parents are likely to influence four aspects of value, particularly in regards to the usefulness of studies and integration into the labour market. Parental influence acts through several mechanisms including 1) discussion and advice; 2) modeling effects via their own paths and 3) support, especially financial.
Conclusions: The influence of parents includes particularities relative to those of peers and educators. Research has also shown that the conceptual perception of the value of studies constitutes an interesting perspective through which we can see the nuances of various influences.
Contribution: This research is an original approach to the concept of the perception of the values of studies, in particular, by taking a qualitative approach, but also by taking into consideration a broad range of potential sources of influence in youths and how they value studies.