Developmental antecedents of young adult civic engagement

Jelena Obradović, Ann S. Masten

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Civic engagement was studied in relation to overall development in adolescence, emerging adulthood, and young adulthood to examine how earlier activity involvement and success in prior and concurrent age-salient domains of competence may contribute to 2 forms of civic engagement in adulthood (citizenship and volunteering). Data on 163 youth were drawn from a longitudinal study of competence in a normative, urban school sample. Results indicate that competence and activity involvement in adolescence predict citizenship and volunteering in adulthood, 10 to 15 years later. As hypothesized, however, the level of competence in developmentally salient domains in adolescence and emerging adulthood fully mediate the predictive significance of concurrent activity involvement for civic engagement outcomes in adulthood. Findings also suggest that citizenship and volunteering are distinct types of civic engagement that should be studied separately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-19
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article is based on data collected as part of the Project Competence longitudinal study that has been supported through grants to Ann Masten, Auke Tellegen, and Norman Garmezy from the William T. Grant Foundation, the National Science Foundation (SBR-9729111), the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH33222), and the University of Minnesota.


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