“I will attend to college to give my family a better life”: Indebtedness with the family and the challenges of building occupational plans for Peruvian adolescents

María Angélica Pease Dreibelbis, Estefanía Urbano Flores, Rafaella Andrea De la Puente Ronceros

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

1 Cita (Scopus)


Identifying a future occupation is an important achievement during adolescence, a process particularly complex for Peruvian adolescents. Perú is a postcolonial country with many forms of inequality, and one of them is the opportunity gap to attend a college. However, most adolescents aspire to go to university as a way out of poverty, and, since Perú is a collectivist society, this is a family task: it is adolescents' responsibility to go to college in order to give a better life to their families. Theories developed for WEIRD societies (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic) do not provide an accurate explanation of Peruvian adolescents' occupational projects because they envision a person with autonomy and resources to choose a career. Thus, our goal is to analyze adolescents' occupational plans considering the role adolescent–caregivers relationships play in this configuration. This study is part of the project “Being an adolescent in Perú” (PUCP-UNICEF) which characterized Peruvian adolescence by studying 14 variables through a qualitative study with 66 participants. In depth interviews were conducted and the data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Results of the thematic analysis are organized in three topics that explain the relationship between occupational plans and adolescent–caregiver relationship (1) adolescents have occupational aspirations rather than achievable projects that are that are built alone, without adult support; (2) attending college as an occupational aspiration belongs to the family, not to the individual operating also a kind of “debt” to pay to their caregivers for being financially supported to be able to study in high school; and (3) caregivers do not have the possibility or resources of being able to accompany their adolescent's occupational plans. We conclude that Peruvian adolescents think about their future within the framework of their family's needs, rather than linked to personal and occupational goals, impeding adolescents from exploring and selecting a realistic occupational goal consistent with their interests. The results allow us to discuss the relevance of studying adolescent development taking into account the particularities of the adolescents' cultural and socioeconomic contexts as well as the core role that relationship with caregivers plays in this process in Perú.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)477-489
Número de páginas13
PublicaciónJournal of Research on Adolescence
EstadoPublicada - jun. 2024


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