Students’ beliefs about whether they will experience changes in their socioeconomic status influence their academic motivation. We propose that students who are concerned about downward socioeconomic mobility will focus their attention on negative academic outcomes and exhibit motivational goals oriented towards preventing negative possibilities and that this relationship will be particularly pronounced among students of color. Two studies investigated the relationship between college students’ concerns about downward socioeconomic mobility and their adoption of academic achievement goals. The more that students of color expressed concerns about experiencing downward socioeconomic mobility, the more they adopted academic mastery-avoidance goals (β = 0.76), whereas there was no significant relationship between concerns about downward socioeconomic mobility and mastery-avoidance goals among White students (β = - 0.24; Study 1). Experimentally induced concerns about downward socioeconomic mobility increased academic mastery-avoidance goals among students of color (β = - 0.58) but decreased mastery-avoidance goals among White students (β = 0.46; Study 2). Together, results indicate that there is a strong relationship between concerns about downward socioeconomic mobility and mastery-avoidance goals among students of color, highlighting the importance of understating how students of color make sense of their future socioeconomic prospects in order to most effectively support their academic trajectories positively.
- Academic motivation
- Achievement goals
- Socioeconomic mobility
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science