Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology

First Advisor

Donna J. Hess


Status attainment, as commonly indicated by levels of educational and occupational achievement, is a complicated process. A variety of variables have been found to be quite influential in the determination of one's eventual position in the social hierarchy of American society. Research done jointly by William H. Sewell and Robert M. Hauser (1972, 1975) regarding the status attainment process has resulted in a Wisconsin model of Adolescent Achievement in which the authors have identified a number of experiences that have significant import for young people's post-high school educational and occupational attainments. The Sewell and Hauser model links socioeconomic origins and academic ability with status attainments by means of such social psychological variables as academic performance, encouragement from significant others, and aspiration formation. In order to assess the explanatory power of the Sewell and Hauser model as applied to rural Native American youth, a questionnaire was administered to a sample of high school students attending a mission school on a reservation in South Dakota. Results of the survey indicated the combined effects of model variables to be relevant to the explanation of status expectations among Indian youth. However, the data also revealed a lack of explanatory power regarding the ordering of variables in the model, thus supporting the hypothesis of the present research. This finding held true even when the effects of such variables as Native American cultural orientation and extended family encouragement for further education were controlled. Lastly, significant differences in the educational and occupational expectations of male and female Indian students were discovered. The evidence suggests a parental role modeling explanation for these differences.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Social status
Indian youth -- North America




South Dakota State University