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date: 19 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter critically reviews the relations between social class and how youth resolve developmental tasks in the opportunity structure—school engagement, the postsecondary transition, and career development. Social class profoundly affects youths' ability to successfully resolve these developmental tasks and self-determine their lives in the opportunity structure, partially explaining pervasive and persistent inequities in educational and occupational attainment. Accordingly, extant empirical research and the theoretical mechanisms by which social class impedes or facilitates youths' development in these three domains are reviewed. This chapter also aims to help practitioners discern what aspects of clients' lives are within their control and which are unduly affected by social class. A case study is provided to illustrate the effects of social class on school engagement, the postsecondary transition, and career development. This case study also provides a vehicle to discuss clinical implications in addressing social class in counseling psychology.

Keywords: social class, youth, socioeconomic status, school engagement, career development, postsecondary transition

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