The Value-Stretch Hypothesis
This hypothesis offers one explanation for those who accept mobility values but still fail. The values stretch hypothesis, developed by Rodman [1963,1974], states that many people sincerely accept certain goals and values but unknowingly follow behavior which blocks attainment of their goals. The hypothesis has two tenets: (1) that these persons are not strongly enough committed to their professed goals and (2) that they fail to recognize that certain behavior is inconsistent with these goals. For example, some parents want their children to do well in school but ignore the teachers' messages and do not insist that children do their homework. Some workers would like a better job but cannot get to work on time, or drop out of the training course .which would prepare them for one. . The value-stretch pattern permits one 'to believe in «ill the approved values without having to make the. effort to attain them or to accept personal blame for failing to do so [Haney et al., 1973]. We note that these " persons are not being devious or hypocritical; they simply fail to recognize that their behavior is not consistent with their goals. Nor do we suggest that the value-stretch pattern is unique to the lower classes. It appears in all classes and in clues students who think that a fast read-through is "studying" as well as ambitious-parents who do not demand good work habits from their children.