Tobias Roth, Zerrin Salikutluk
Attitudes and expectations: do attitudes towards education mediate the relationship between social networks and parental expectations?

British Journal of Sociology of Education, 2012: 33, issue 5, p. 701-722

Previous international research has shown that educational goals are fundamental for explaining differences in the educational attainment between individuals. For a better understanding of educational inequality, it is therefore crucial to know more about the mechanisms leading to different expectations. Our paper contributes to this field of research by empirically testing how social networks affect educational expectations of mothers for their children. Furthermore, we try to disentangle the underlying mechanisms by investigating which role resources and attitudes within social networks play in influencing educational expectations. We use quantitative data gathered in three federal states in Germany. The key results indicate that network composition not only has an effect on educational expectations but also on general attitudes towards education. Both attitudes towards education and embedded resources seem to mediate the effect of social ties on educational expectations.