Affiliations: Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA | Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA, USA | University of California, Riverside, CA, USA
Note:  Address for correspondence: Laura Wray-Lake, Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, P.O. Box 270266, Rochester, NY 14627-0266, USA. Tel.: +585 276 6864; Fax: +585 273 1100; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Describing how much and what type(s) of change are evident in civic engagement across adolescence is a fundamental starting point for advancing developmental theory in the civic domain. Using five annual waves of data from a large national U.S. sample spanning 8th–12th grades, our study describes civic engagement typologies and transitions in and out of typologies across adolescence. Four distinct civic typologies were identified across indicators of civic values, behaviors, and future expectations. Two-thirds of youth demonstrated ipsative continuity, i.e., within-class stability over time. Transitions indicated gradual stepwise change in both upward and downward directions and thus provided only modest support for age-related gains. Our study has the potential to spur theoretical progress regarding civic development by documenting developmental change as a series of transitions that vary across people. Results help to clarify the diverse civic pathways that youth experience across adolescence.
Keywords: Types of civic engagement, longitudinal study of American youth, latent transition analysis, civic development, civic transitions