Two significant sociological theories which have been invoked in research about undergraduate aspirations are tested. The data, based on a national sample of students, contain some key measurements which had been missing from previous studies as well as a series of additional control variables. In general, relative-deprivation theory receives strong support; environmental-press theory receives equivocal support. However, the results vary as a function of the particular kind of aspiration under consideration. These findings support the contention that a complete theoretical model should allow for the simultaneous operation of both theories in a complex pattern rather than forcing a choice between the two.
© 1972, University of Chicago Press, http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/ET/home.html
This article first appeared as Drew, David E. and Alexander W. Astin, "Undergraduate Aspirations: A Test of Several Theories," The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 77, No. 6 (May, 1972), pp. 1151-1164, and can be found online at http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2776223.pdf.