, Volume 48, Issue 9-10, pp 447-460

Mom Matters: Maternal Influence on the Choice of Academic Major

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Using High School and Beyond data and multinomial logit modeling, this analysis explores the parental impact on a student's choice of academic major. Family measures that have traditionally been used in status attainment models have focused primarily on father. This analysis includes measures for both the mother and the father to gauge their individual impact. Results indicate that mothers influence students' choice of academic major most readily through emotional and normative channels. In addition, mothers generally encourage the pursuit of nontechnical majors, whereas fathers encourage the pursuit of technical majors. The implications of this analysis are that mothers ought to be included more systematicly in status attainment models.