The study “Parent-Child Discrepancy in Educational Aspirations and Depressive Symptoms in Early Adolescence: A Longitudinal Study” was published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence in 2022. The study’s authors are Xiaolin Guo, Huan Qin, Kexin Jiang, and Liang Luo. The article examines the relationship between discrepancies in educational aspirations between parents and their children and its effect on early adolescents’ depressive symptoms both concurrently and prospectively. This study is significant in understanding the role of educational aspirations in adolescents’ psychological adjustment, especially considering parent-child discrepancies.

The research was a longitudinal study involving 3,799 students (52% boys with an average age of 10.78 years) and their parents, collecting data when students were in fifth and seventh grades over two years. The study utilized polynomial regression with response surface analysis to analyze the effects of parent-child aspiration discrepancy on depressive symptoms in four parent-child gender dyads.

The study found that congruently higher aspirations between parents and children were related to lower depressive symptoms, while greater incongruence in aspirations was related to higher depressive symptoms. Specifically, for parent-son dyads, adolescents whose aspirations were lower than their parents reported higher depressive symptoms than those whose aspirations were higher. Longitudinally, for father-son dyads, congruently higher aspirations were related to increased depressive symptoms over time, while for parent-daughter dyads, greater incongruence in aspirations was related to increased depressive symptoms over time. These findings highlight the complexity of the relationship between educational aspirations and depressive symptoms, suggesting the need for a more detailed and rigorous analysis and interpretation.

The study concludes that considering parent-child discrepancy is important when exploring the role of educational aspirations in adolescents’ psychological adjustment. The findings have significant implications for understanding the psychological impacts of educational aspirations and the dynamics within the family regarding educational goals.


Guo, X., Qin, H., Jiang, K., & Luo, L. (2022). Parent-child discrepancy in educational aspirations and depressive symptoms in early adolescence: A longitudinal study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 51(10), 1983-1996. Doi :