Reciprocal associations between identity and civic engagement in adolescence: a two-wave longitudinal study

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Abstract

The purpose of this two-wave longitudinal study was to analyze reciprocal associations between identity styles (i.e., socio-cognitive strategies that individuals adopt in processing, structuring, utilizing, and revising self-relevant information) and civic engagement in adolescence. Participants were 1,308 high school students (9–11 grades; 52.9% girls). Findings of cross-lagged models indicated reciprocal associations between identity styles and civic engagement. Specifically, each identity style (i.e., information-oriented, normative, and diffuse-avoidant) predicted changes in later levels of civic engagement, and civic engagement lessened later reliance on one of three identity styles (i.e., the diffuse-avoidant style). Therefore, effects of identity on civic engagement were stronger than effects of civic engagement on identity. From a practical perspective, these findings underline that interventions aimed at facilitating reliance on various identity styles are likely to have effects also on civic participation and civic experiences are likely to reduce adolescents’ avoidance of identity issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-124
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Sciences
Volume8
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • Identity styles
  • Civic engagement
  • Longitudinal study

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