Limited research in the psychology literature has addressed the specifics of children’s future orientations. Using a thematic approach, the present study investigates children’s personal aspirations for their adult lives via a questionnaire that addressed (1) the types of aspiration profiles present in a sample of 456 Italian students aged 8–13 and balanced for gender, and (2) how these profiles differ according to demographics, the number of aspirations, academic and social self-efficacy, life satisfaction, and academic achievement. Using cluster analysis, three aspiration profiles emerged, which include individualistic (focused on the possible future self), independent (concentrated on one’s own future family and independence), and social (focused on future friends and the family of origin). The independent profile demonstrated better overall psychological and academic adjustment than did the other two profiles. The article discusses the results of the study using the framework of self-determination theory in the context of Italian society.
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