The Development and Correlates of Academic Interests From Childhood Through Adolescence

Aryn M. Dotterer, Susan M. McHale, Ann C. Crouter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Study goals were to assess: (a) the development of academic interests from middle childhood through late adolescence; (b) the degree to which junior high and high school transitions, parents' educational expectations, interests, and education were related to changes in academic interests; and (c) the longitudinal links between youths' academic interests and school grades. Participants were mothers, fathers, and 2 siblings from 201 White working-class and middle-class families who were interviewed in their homes on up to 9 annual occasions. Multilevel model analyses revealed overall declines in youths' interests over time, with boys showing more rapid decline than girls. Mothers' educational expectations were positively related to youths' interests, and youths' interests declined less when fathers had more education. The transition to junior high, but not high school, was linked to decline in interests, but this was buffered by mothers' academic interests. Declines in youths' academic interests were linked to declines in school grades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-519
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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