Thirty-year trends in U.S. adolescents' civic engagement: A story of changing participation and educational differences

Amy K. Syvertsen, Laura Wray-Lake, Constance A. Flanagan, D. Wayne Osgood, Laine Briddell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using annual cross-sectional data from Monitoring the Future, the present study examined trends in high school seniors' current and anticipated civic participation and beliefs over a 30-year period. We examined overall trends and patterns based on youths' post-high school educational plans. Findings point to declines in recent cohorts' involvement in conventional and alternative forms of engagement but greater involvement in community service. Regardless of period, the majority of youth said they intended to vote when eligible, but few expressed trust in the government or elected officials. All civic indicators showed significant differences based on youths' college aspirations: Youth who planned to graduate from a 4-year college were more civically inclined than their peers with 2-year or no college plans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-594
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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