Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Mary Winter

Second Advisor

Harvey Joanning


The purpose of this study is to investigate issues related to the attainment of formal education among children in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico, in two studies conducted with Oaxacan families. The first study is a quantitative analysis of children born between the years of 1966 and 1977. Two cross-sectional parallel analyses were conducted to assess family and child characteristics that predict school enrollment and educational attainment of 271 children. Logistic regression equations were used to ascertain the family and child characteristics that predict the child's presence or absence of school enrollment in 1987 and 1992. Linear regressions analyze the predictors of children's educational attainment at different age groups. Significant predictors of school enrollment both in 1987 and 1992 are the number of workers in the household, and whether the child is working. Significant predictors of level of educational attainment both in 1987 and in 1992 are the number of workers in the household, household income, and the age of the child. The second study is a qualitative study based on 11 ethnographic interviews with families in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico, that focused on the retrospective assessments of families about their decisions regarding the formal education of their children. The primary themes identified by families as playing a role in decision-making processes regarding education were: (1) the role of personal sacrifice for the benefit of the entire family; (2) the collective nature of educational achievement; (3) the association of education with upward social mobility for the family; (4) feelings of pride for the family and increased social status in the community; and (5) hope for a better life for the children's generation.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Elizabeth Ann Wieling



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

123 pages