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What Motivates Youth Civic Involvement?

Publication Authors: 
Parissa Jahromi Ballard
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
Journal of Adolescent Research (available online) 29 (4), 439-464. DOI: 10.1177/0743558413520224

The topic of youth civic engagement is increasingly popular in social science research; however, the question of why some youth are civically involved while others are not is
not well understood. This article addresses the following questions: What motivations and barriers do youth report for civic involvement? How do motivations and barriers differ across school contexts? A qualitative study using in-depth semi-structured interviews with youth (N = 22) was used to identify four categories of motivations and two categories of barriers for civic involvement. Variation emerged in the motivations and barriers for civic involvement both within and across school contexts. Understanding civic motivations in context uncovers new insights about how to structure opportunities to better facilitate youth civic involvement.