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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, the authors merge lifespan motivational theory with empirical studies to illustrate how societal opportunities and constraints to social mobility influence individual’s striving to attain socioeconomic status. The authors begin by outlining key propositions of the motivational theory of lifespan development. They then discuss current and historical societal conditions and belief systems regarding social inequality and social mobility and how these belief systems impact individuals’ active attempts to regulate their own development. Subsequently, the authors focus on the transition from adolescence to adulthood and consider in greater detail possible avenues to social mobility. In particular, they discuss how paths to social mobility are constituted by educational and vocational training systems and how these paths are shaped by societal conditions and belief systems.

Keywords: socioeconomic status, social mobility, adolescence, adulthood, motivation

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