Sarah Godwin wins 2011 CLS dissertation prize

13 December 2011

The 2011 CLS Masters dissertation prize has been awarded to Sarah Godwin for her study on the relationship between occupational aspirations and psychological problems among children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The 2011 CLS Masters dissertation prize has been awarded to Sarah Godwin for her study on the relationship between occupational aspirations and psychological problems among children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Sarah, who received an MSc in Psychology at the Institute of Education (IOE), analysed data from the Millennium Cohort Study’s age 7 survey to see if having high career aspirations protected children from poorer homes from the social, emotional and behavioural problems that tend to accompany disadvantaged family circumstances. She found that boys from poorer homes were less likely to suffer emotional (anxiety) problems if they had high aspirations. However girls from similar backgrounds who had high aspirations were in fact at higher risk of emotional distress.

Former CLS Director Heather Joshi, one of the judges, said of Sarah’s work: “She marshalled a huge amount of data, including newly-coded summaries of children’s aspirations, and mastered techniques of quantitative analysis to tell a careful story of the interplay of social circumstance and ambition in children’s behavioural adjustment. She arrived at the very interesting conclusion that raises important questions for further investigation, which is now ongoing.”

The CLS annual dissertation prize goes to an outstanding study by an IOE Masters student using cohort data. All such dissertations that receive a distinction are automatically entered. For more information, click here.