March 31, 2011

Becoming A Responsible Citizen

Researchers look at teens' civic development

Across the globe, adolescence and early adulthood are considered important periods for the development of civic involvement. Civic involvement, in turn, has been shown to promote adolescents' development of initiative, empathy, social relations and skills, and personal growth.

Civic involvement by teens is considered important, and efforts to promote it are widespread. In this context, it's important to gain more insight into this type of involvement to inform efforts to boost youths' participation.

The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) will host a symposium during its Biennial Meeting at which researchers will consider civic development in adolescents from the perspective of four different countries. In presentations focusing on civic involvement in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and the Netherlands, researchers will discuss the relative importance of various factors in teens' involvement in the world around them.

Among the questions that will be addressed:

    * In Germany, what determines teens' and young adults' willingness to participate in politics and political behavior? How do youths' attitudes toward political engagement and their internal political efficacy (whether one can understand and participate effectively in politics) explain their involvement?
    * In the Czech Republic, how does adolescents' internal political efficacy affect their consumption of political media, political discussions with friends and parents, and efforts to persuade others of their social views? And how do these activities, in turn, affect teens' internal political efficacy?
    * In Slovenia, what are the effects of personal and social motivation, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, and experience on various forms of political involvement and volunteering?
    * In the Netherlands, how do teens' identity, moral responsibility, and moral thinking affect their volunteering? Does this process differ for boys and girls?


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