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01-09-2012 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 9/2012

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 9/2012

Predictors and Pathways to Civic Involvement in Emerging Adulthood: Neighborhood, Family, and School Influences

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 9/2012
Auteurs:
Duhita Mahatmya, Brenda J. Lohman

Abstract

Understanding the developmental precursors to civic involvement in emerging adulthood is important to help cultivate and sustain youth’s civic involvement. Guided by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of human development and social capital theory, this study examined the pathways that link childhood neighborhood attributes, changes in family and school social capital during adolescence, and civic involvement in emerging adulthood. Three waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 7,209, 54 % female, 63 % white, 18 % African-American, 11 % Hispanic) and multi-level models were used to examine the research questions set forth in this study. Findings revealed that increases in family and school social capital during adolescence had direct influences on emerging adult’s civic involvement 7 years later. The effect of childhood neighborhood attributes was only weakly mediated by family and school social capital. However, the expression of family and school influences on emerging adult’s civic involvement was found to differ by neighborhood groups, gender, and race. These results help to illustrate the importance of examining multi-contextual as well as demographic influences on civic involvement in emerging adulthood. In addition, the results from this study can inform efforts to strengthen the theory of adolescent civic involvement and policies on how to educate youth and communities on civic involvement and its benefits.

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