From Adolescent Connections to Social Capital: Predictors of Civic Engagement in Young Adulthood

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Abstract

Purpose: This study examined the ability of adolescent connection in family and community contexts to promote an aspect of healthy youth development and transition into adulthood, civic engagement. Methods: Data are from Wave 1 (1995) and Wave 3 (2001-2002) of the in-home interviews from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The sample for this study included 9130 young adults aged 18-26 years. Linear and logistic regression models were used to measure the influence of connection in family and community contexts (Wave 1) on outcomes of civic engagement in young adulthood (Wave 3). Results: Stronger connection in all family and community contexts during adolescence predicted greater likelihood of voting, community volunteer service, involvement in social action/solidarity groups, education groups, and/or conservation groups, and endorsement of civic trust in young adulthood. Select connections in family and community contexts were also significant predictors of political voice/involvement and blood product donation. In a final multivariate model, frequency of shared activities with parent(s) and school connection during adolescence emerged as unique predictors of young adult civic engagement. Conclusions: Connections in family and community contexts during adolescence promote healthy youth development through facilitation of multiple aspects of civic engagement in young adulthood. The importance of these connections in fostering youth capacity to bond to a broader community construct is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

Fingerprint

Young Adult
Logistic Models
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health
Aptitude
Foster Home Care
Social Welfare
Politics
Social Capital
Blood Donors
Volunteers
Linear Models
Interviews
Education

Keywords

  • Civic engagement
  • Connection
  • Healthy youth development
  • Promotion
  • Protection
  • Young adulthood

Cite this

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abstract = "Purpose: This study examined the ability of adolescent connection in family and community contexts to promote an aspect of healthy youth development and transition into adulthood, civic engagement. Methods: Data are from Wave 1 (1995) and Wave 3 (2001-2002) of the in-home interviews from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The sample for this study included 9130 young adults aged 18-26 years. Linear and logistic regression models were used to measure the influence of connection in family and community contexts (Wave 1) on outcomes of civic engagement in young adulthood (Wave 3). Results: Stronger connection in all family and community contexts during adolescence predicted greater likelihood of voting, community volunteer service, involvement in social action/solidarity groups, education groups, and/or conservation groups, and endorsement of civic trust in young adulthood. Select connections in family and community contexts were also significant predictors of political voice/involvement and blood product donation. In a final multivariate model, frequency of shared activities with parent(s) and school connection during adolescence emerged as unique predictors of young adult civic engagement. Conclusions: Connections in family and community contexts during adolescence promote healthy youth development through facilitation of multiple aspects of civic engagement in young adulthood. The importance of these connections in fostering youth capacity to bond to a broader community construct is discussed.",
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