The Flip Side To “Dreaming Big” And Having Ambitious Career Aspirations

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Psychology News

Researchers at the University of Basel explored how ambitious career aspirations in teenage years influenced well-being and life satisfaction in later years. The study is published in the journal European Economic Review.

The Study

The researchers wanted to investigate the relevance of career aspirations in social mobility and later life satisfaction. They surveyed a dataset that follows the lives of over 17,000 people in the UK who were born in 1958.

The dataset contained information about each participant’s childhood environment, parental professional and financial backgrounds, cognitive abilities, youthful aspirations, and occupation and well-being in adulthood.

The Findings

The results revealed that parents’ financial resources, the educational system, and genetics significantly influenced a person’s ambitious career aspirations. In most cases, higher aspirations lead to higher achievements and social mobility.

However, there is a flip side to dreaming big. It is found that unrealistically high aspirations as a teenager have a negative effect on well-being in adulthood. But, if people actually achieve more than what they aspired to in their teenage years, then there is a positive correlation with well-being in adulthood.

To Know More You May Refer To

Lekfuangfu, W. N., & Odermatt, R. (2022). All I have to do is dream? The role of aspirations in intergenerational mobility and well-being. European Economic Review, 148, 104193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2022.104193

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