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The Influence of Family Political Discussion on Youth Civic Development: Which Parent Qualities Matter?

  • Hugh McIntosh (a1), Daniel Hart (a2) and James Youniss (a3)

Evidence suggesting that the growth of civic roots in adolescence may be crucial to the long-term development of citizenship has stimulated research into factors that might influence civic development during this time. One interesting finding to emerge from that exploration is the apparent importance of discussion to the development of civic competence. Adolescents who discuss politics and current events with their parents, peers, or teachers tend to score higher than other youth on measures of civic behaviors, attitudes, and skills. They develop higher levels of political knowledge, show greater intention to vote in the future, and do better on a range of civic outcomes from petitioning and boycotting to raising money for charities and participating in community meetings (Torney-Purta et al. 2001; Andolina et al. 2003).

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Beane, James, JoanTurner, DavidJones, and RichardLipka. 1981. “Long-Term Effects of Community Service Programs.” Curriculum Inquiry11 (2): 14355.

Dudley, Robert L., and Alan R.Gitelson. 2002. “Political Literacy, Civic Education, and Civic Engagement: A Return to Political Socialization?Applied Developmental Science6: 17582.

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Hart, Daniel, RobertAtkins, PatrickMarkey, and JamesYouniss. 2004. “Youth Bulges in Communities: The Effects of Age Structure on Adolescent Civic Knowledge and Civic Participation.” Psychological Science15 (9): 5917.

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Saphir, Melissa N., and Steven H.Chaffee. 2002. “Adolescents' Contributions to Family Communication Patterns.” Human Communication Research28 (1): 86108.

Torney-Purta, Judith. 1995. “Psychological Theory as a Basis for Political Socialization Research.” Perspectives in Political Science24 (1): 2333.

Youniss, James, Jeffrey A.McLellan, and MirandaYates. 1997. “What We Know About Engendering Civic Identity.” American Behavioral Scientist40: 62031.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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