Academic social support and student expectations: The case of second-generation asian americans.

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Strong academic orientations and high expectations from key actors - including parents, friends, and teachers - are linked with high adolescent expectations, which are in turn associated with better academic outcomes. Expectancy-Value Theory argues that broader social influences play a prominent role, although limited work focuses on this aspect of the framework. Two separate, but related, bodies of work theorize how Asian Americans form their expectations. The "Immigrant Bargain" describes how Asian American parents influence the expectations of youth: immigrant parents, who are particularly optimistic, expect their children to succeed. In turn, youth feel pressure to fulfill their familial obligations. The "Model Minority Stereotype," which constructs Asian American identity around academic excellence, can also be a source of pressure for these youth. Together, these theories suggest that academic social support may be a source of pressure for Asian American youth. Using data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), a nationally representative dataset of high school sophomores, we find that second-generation Asian Americans have the strongest social support from parents, friends, and teachers, as well as the strongest overall support from these 3 key actors. Results from propensity score matching analyses show that having strong academic support is linked with having higher student expectations. However, the positive relationships between strong social support and college-going expectations are weaker for second-generation Asian Americans. We end by discussing how our findings contribute to Expectancy-Value Theory and research on the "Immigrant Bargain" and the "Model Minority Stereotype."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-30
Number of pages15
JournalAsian American Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • Immigrant Bargain
  • Model Minority Stereotype
  • academic expectations
  • second-generation Asian Americans
  • social influences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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