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Adolescents Hold Differing Views On Civic And Political Activity

Date:
April 29, 2009
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
A new study of finds that on the whole, teens consider civic activity to be obligatory. The study also reveals that boys place a higher priority on political activities while girls place a higher priority on community service. The study also shows that the more teens take part in civic activities, the less they see such involvement as a personal issue and the more they view it as an obligation.

The record numbers of young people who took part in last year's presidential election, along with high schools' raised expectations that students participate in community service, have led to growing research on teens' civic beliefs and behavior. A new study finds that most young people consider civic activity to be obligatory, but their judgments and justifications about different types of civic involvement vary by gender and a variety of other factors.

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"There is growing interest in adolescent civic and community involvement, because involvement during adolescence is thought to lead to increased civic activity in adulthood," notes Aaron Metzger, a postdoctoral research specialist at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the study's lead author. The research, conducted when Metzger was at the University of Rochester, appears in the March/April 2009 issue of the journal Child Development.

The study looked at more than 300 primarily White middle-class American teens ages 15 to 19. It found that on the whole, teens thought it was more important to be involved in community service and standard political activities like voting than in social movements like taking part in political protests. Boys put a higher priority on political involvement than girls, who thought community service was more important. The more teens took part in civic activities, the less they saw such involvement as a personal issue and the more they viewed it as an obligation.

"Adolescents' civic involvement may lead them to view different types of civic activities as moral and conventional rather than personal, which then could contribute to their continued involvement into adulthood," according to Metzger.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Adolescents Hold Differing Views On Civic And Political Activity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091630.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2009, April 29). Adolescents Hold Differing Views On Civic And Political Activity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091630.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Adolescents Hold Differing Views On Civic And Political Activity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091630.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

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