"Patterns of Civic and Political Commitment in Early Adolescence"
Interest in understanding how civic engagement emerges has been fueled by worries about the decline of youth participation in conventional political activities. Acknowledging the developmental nature of civic engagement, this study analyzes involvement in civic activities during early adolescence. We used latent class analysis to identify patterns of participation in a representative sample of Chilean adolescents. A four-class model was highlighted by two contrasting classes: an involved class, with high probabilities of participation, and an uninvolved class, with low probabilities of participation. A third class—volunteers—mostly participates in organizations involved in community service, religious or social causes. This type of participation conforms to the preservation of the status quo, in contrast to a more political or activist form of participation that challenges it. Classes were partially invariant by gender and socioeconomic status. Females were more prevalent in the involved class, and males in the uninvolved class. Adolescents’ interest in politics, discussion of political issues, citizenship self-efficacy, and school involvement were associated with higher odds of belonging to the involved class.
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