Advertisement

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 1663–1683 | Cite as

The Intersection of Emotional and Sociocognitive Competencies with Civic Engagement in Middle Childhood and Adolescence

  • Aaron Metzger
  • Lauren M. Alvis
  • Benjamin Oosterhoff
  • Elizabeth Babskie
  • Amy Syvertsen
  • Laura Wray-Lake
Empirical Research

Abstract

Civic developmental theory anticipates connections between normative developmental competencies and civic engagement, but little previous research has directly studied such links. The current study sought to contribute to civic development theory by examining associations between emotional and sociocognitive competencies (empathy, emotion regulation, prosocial moral reasoning, future-orientation) and civic engagement (volunteering, informal helping, political behaviors and beliefs, environmental behaviors, social responsibility values, civic skills). Data came from a geographically and racially diverse sample of 2467 youth (Mage = 13.4, Range: 8–20 years, 56% female). The results indicated that empathy and future-orientation significantly predicted nearly all forms of civic engagement, whereas emotion regulation and prosocial moral reasoning were uniquely associated with specific forms of civic engagement. Exploratory multi-group models indicated that empathy and emotion regulation were more strongly associated with civic engagement among younger youth and prosocial moral reasoning and future-orientation were more strongly related to civic engagement among older youth. The findings help to advance developmental theory of youth civic engagement.

Keywords

Civic engagement Political participation Positive youth development Prosocial behavior Developmental theory 

Notes

Authors' Contributions

A.M. conceived of the study, participated in its design and drafted the manuscript; L.A. helped to draft the manuscript, participated in acquisition of the data, performed statistical analyses and interpretation of the data; B.O. participated in acquisition of the data, performed statistical analyses and interpretation of the data, and helped draft the results; E.B. performed statistical analyses and participated in the conception of the study; A.S. and L.W.L. participated in the design and coordination of the study and were involved in revising the manuscript for critically important intellectual content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This work was funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and the National Science Foundation. The opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the values of these organizations.

Data Sharing Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10964_2018_842_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary Information(DOCX 22 kb)

References

  1. Albanesi, C., Cicognani, E., & Zani, B. (2007). Sense of community, civic engagement and social well‐being in Italian adolescents. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 17(5), 387–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bekkers, R. (2005). Participation in voluntary associations: Relations with resources, personality, and political values. Political Psychology, 26(3), 439–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Betts, J. E., Appleton, J. J., Reschly, A. L., Christenson, S. L., & Huebner, E. S. (2010). A study of the factorial invariance of the Student Engagement Instrument (SEI): Results from middle and high school students. School Psychology Quarterly, 25(2), 84–93.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blakemore, S., & Choudhury, S. (2006). Development of the adolescent brain: Implications for executive function and social cognition. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(3–4), 296–312.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01611.x. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bornstein, M. H. (2017). The specificity principle in acculturation science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 3–45.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Carlo, G. (2014). The development and correlates of prosocial moral behaviors. In M. Killen & J. G. Smetana (Eds.), Handbook of moral development (2nd ed.). (pp. 208–234). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  7. Carlo, G., Eisenberg, N., & Knight, G. P. (1992). An objective measure of adolescents’ prosocial moral reasoning. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 2, 331–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carlo, G., Hausmann, A., Christiansen, S., & Randall, B. A. (2003). Sociocognitive and behavioral correlates of a measure of prosocial tendencies for adolescents. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 23(1), 107–134.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431602239132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlo, G., Mestre, M. V., Samper, P., Tur, A., & Armenta, B. E. (2010). Feelings or cognitions? Moral cognitions and emotions as longitudinal predictors of prosocial and aggressive behaviors. Personality and Individual Differences, 48(8), 872–877.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carlo, G., Mestre, M. V., Samper, P., Tur, A., & Armenta, B. E. (2011). The longitudinal relations among dimensions of parenting styles, sympathy, prosocial moral reasoning, and prosocial behaviors. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35(2), 116–124.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025410375921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheung, G. W., & Rensvold, R. B. (2002). Evaluating Goodness-of-Fit Indexes for Testing Measurement Invariance, Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 9, 233–255.Google Scholar
  12. Cicognani, E., Zani, B., Fournier, B., Gavray, C., & Born, M. (2012). Gender differences in youths’ political engagement and participation. The role of parents and of adolescents’ social and civic participation. Journal of Adolescence, 35(3), 561–576.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Côté, S., DeCelles, K. A., McCarthy, J. M., Van Kleef, G. A., & Hideg, I. (2011). The Jekyll and Hyde of emotional intelligence: Emotion-regulation knowledge facilitates both prosocial and interpersonally deviant behavior. Psychological Science, 22(8), 1073–1080.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Davis, M. H. (1996). Empathy: A social-psychological approach. Boulder, Co: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  15. Duke, N. N., Skay, C. L., Pettingell, S. L., & Borowsky, I. W. (2009). From adolescent connections to social capital: Predictors of civic engagement in young adulthood. Journal of Adolescent Health, 44(2), 161–168.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Eisenberg, N. (1990). Prosocial development in early and mid-adolescence. In R. Montemayor, G. R. Adams & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), From childhood to adolescence: A transitional period? Advances in adolescence (Vol. 2, pp. 240–269). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Eisenberg, N. (2000). Emotion, regulation, and moral development. Annual Review of Psychology, 51(1), 665–697.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Eisenberg, N. (2006). Prosocial Behavior. In G. G. Bear & K. M. Minke (Eds.), Children’s needs III: Development, prevention, and intervention (pp. 313–324). Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.Google Scholar
  19. Eisenberg, N. (2009). Empathy-related responding: Links with self-regulation, moral judgment, and moral behavior. In M. Mikulincer & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Prosocial motives, emotions, and behavior: The better angels of our nature (pp. 129–148). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  20. Eisenberg, N., Cumberland, A., Guthrie, I. K., Murphy, B. C., & Shepard, S. A. (2005). Age changes in prosocial responding and moral reasoning in adolescence and early adulthood. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15(3), 235–260.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-7795.2005.00095.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Eisenberg, N., Eggum, N. D., & Di Giunta, L. (2010). Empathy‐related responding: Associations with prosocial behavior, aggression, and intergroup relations. Social issues and Policy Review, 4(1), 143–180.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-2409.2010.01020.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., & Spinrad, T. L. (2006). Prosocial orientation. In W. Damon, R. M. Lerner (Series Eds.) & N. Eisenberg (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development. 6th edn. (pp. 646–718). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  23. Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R., & Spinrad, T. (2007). Prosocial development. In N. Eisenberg, W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol 3 Social, Emotional, and Personality Development (6th ed.). (pp. 646–718). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  24. Eisenberg, N., Guthrie, I. K., Cumberland, A., Murphy, B. C., Shepard, S. A., Zhou, Q., & Carlo, G. (2002). Prosocial development in early adulthood: a longitudinal study. Journal of personality and Social Psychology, 82(6), 993–1006.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Eisenberg, N., & Spinrad, T. L. (2004). Emotion-related regulation: Sharpening the definition. Child Development, 75, 334–339.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Flanagan, C., Gill, S., & Gallay, L. (2014). Social participation and social trust in adolescence: The importance of heterogeneous encounters. In A. M. Otto (Ed.), Processes of community change and social action (pp. 149–202). New York, NY: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  27. Flanagan, C., & Levine, P. (2010). Civic engagement and the transition to adulthood. The Future of Children, 20(1), 159–179.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Flanagan, C. A. (2004). Volunteerism, leadership, political socialization, and civic engagement. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (2nd ed.). (pp. 721–745). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  29. Flanagan, C. A., Syvertsen, A. K., & Stout, M. D. (2007). Civic measurement models: Tapping adolescents’ civic engagement. CIRCLE Working Paper 55. Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).Google Scholar
  30. Galinsky, E. (1999). Ask the children: What America’s children really think about working parents. New York: Morrow.Google Scholar
  31. Galston, W. A. (2007). Civic knowledge, civic education, and civic engagement: A summary of recent research. International Journal of Public Administration, 30(6–7), 623–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Geller, J. D., Voight, A., Wegman, H., & Nation, M. (2013). How do varying types of youth civic engagement relate to perceptions of school climate? Applied Developmental Science, 17(3), 135–147.  https://doi.org/10.1080/10888691.2013.804377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Graham, J. W. (2012). Missing data theory. Missing Data (pp. 3–46). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gratz, K. L., & Roemer, L. (2004). Multidimensional assessment of emotion regulation and dysregulation: Development, factor structure, and initial validation of the difficulties in emotion regulation scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 26, 41–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gross, J. J., & John, O. P. (2003). Individual differences in two emotion regulation processes: Implications for affect, relationships, and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 348–362.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Hart, D., Matsuba, K., & Atkins, R. (2014). Civic engagement and child and adolescent well-being. Handbook of child well-being (pp. 957–975). Netherlands: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Haste, H., & Hogan, A. (2006). Beyond conventional civic participation, beyond the moral-political divide: Young people and contemporary debates about citizenship. Journal of Moral Education, 35, 473–493.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03057240601012238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hoffman, M. L. (2000). Empathy and moral development: Implications for caring and justice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Howard, W. J., Rhemtulla, M., & Little, T. D. (2015). Using principal components as auxiliary variables in missing data estimation. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 50(3), 285–299.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Jenkins, K., Zukin, C., & Andolina, M. (1990). Three core measures of community-based civic engagement: Evidence from the youth civic engagement indicators project. In Child Trends Conference on Indicators of Positive Development. Presented at the Child Trends Conference on Indicators of Positive Development March 11–12, 2003. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  41. Jugert, P., Eckstein, K., Noack, P., Kuhn, A., & Benbow, A. (2013). Offline and online civic engagement among adolescents and young adults from three ethnic groups. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1–13.Google Scholar
  42. Kaiser, F. G., Oerke, B., & Bogner, F. X. (2007). Behavior-based environmental attitude: Development of an instrument for adolescents. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 27(3), 242–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Karakos, H. L., Voight, A., Geller, J. D., Nixon, C. T., & Nation, M. (2016). Student civic participation and school climate: Associations at multiple levels of the school ecology. Journal of Community Psychology, 44(2), 166–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kahn Jr., P. H. (1992). Children’s obligatory and discretionary moral judgments. Child Development, 63, 416–430.Google Scholar
  45. Kim, Y. C., & Ball‐Rokeach, S. J. (2006). Civic engagement from a communication infrastructure perspective. Communication Theory, 16(2), 173–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kirshner, B. (2009). “Power in numbers”: Youth organizing as a context for exploring civic identity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19, 414–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  48. Kohlberg, L. (1971). From is to ought: How to commit the naturalistic fallacy and get away with it in the study of moral development. In: T. Mischel (ed.) Psychology and genetic epistemology. (pp. 151–235). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  49. Lenzi, M., Vieno, A., Perkins, D. D., Santinello, M., Elgar, F. J., Morgan, A., & Mazzardis, S. (2012). Family affluence, school and neighborhood contexts and adolescents’ civic engagement: A cross-national study. American Journal of Community Psychology, 50(1–2), 197–210.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Lerner, R. M., Wang, J., Champine, R. B., Warren, D. J., & Erickson, K. (2014). Development of civic engagement: Theoretical and methodological issues. International Journal of Developmental Science, 8(3–4), 69–79.Google Scholar
  51. Lewin-Bizan, S., Bowers, E. P., & Lerner, R. M. (2010). One good thing leads to another: Cascades of positive youth development among American adolescents. Development and psychopathology, 22(04), 759–770.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. MacDermott, S. T., Gullone, E., Allen,J. S., King, N. J., & Tonge, B. J. (2009). The emotion regulation index for children and adolescents (ERICA): A psychometric investigation. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment,  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-009-9154-0.
  53. Markus, H., & Nurius, P. (1986). Possible selves. American Psychologist, 41(9), 954–969.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.41.9.954. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Meade, A. W., Johnson, E. C., & Braddy, P. W. (2008). Power and sensitivity of alternative fit indices in tests of measurement invariance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 568–592.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Metcalfe, J., & Mischel, W. (1999). A hot/cool-system analysis of delay of gratification: Dynamics of willpower. Psychological Review, 106, 3–19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Metzger, A., & Ferris, K. (2013). Adolescents’ domain-specific judgments about different forms of civic involvement: Variations by age and gender. Journal of adolescence, 36(3), 529–538.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.03.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Metzger, A., Oosterhoff, B., Palmer, C. A., & Ferris, K. (2014). Dimensions of citizenship: Associations among adolescents’ sociopolitical values and civic judgments. PS: Political Science & Politics, 47(2), 443–448.Google Scholar
  58. Metzger, A., & Smetana, J. G. (2009). Adolescent civic and political engagement: associations between domain-specific judgments and behavior. Child Development, 80, 433–441.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Metzger, A., & Smetana, J. G. (2010). Social sociocognitive development and adolescent civic engagement. In L. Sherrod, C. Flanagan & J. Torney-Purta (Eds.), Handbook research on civic engagement in youth (pp. 221–248). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Metzger, A., Syvertsen, A. K., Oosterhoof, B., Babskie, E., & Wray-Lake, L. (2016). How children understand civic actions: A mixed methods perspective. Journal of Adolescent Research, 31, 507–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Moshman, D. (2009). Adolescence. In U. Muller, J. Carpendale & L. Smith (Eds.), The Cambridge Companion to PIAGET (pp. 255–269). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Nurmi, J. E. (1987). Age, sex, social class, and quality of family interaction as determinants of adolescents’ future orientation: A developmental task interpretation. Adolescence, 22(88), 977–991.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Nurmi, J. E. (1991). How do adolescents see their future? A review of the development of future orientation and planning. Developmental Review, 11(1), 1–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Obradović, J., & Masten, A. S. (2007). Developmental antecedents of young adult civic engagement. Applied developmental Science, 11(1), 2–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Pancer, S. M. (2015). The psychology of citizenship and civic engagement. USA: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rothbart, M. K., & Bates, J. E. (2006). Temperament. In W. Damon, R. Lerner & N. Eisenberg (Eds.), Social, emotional, and personality development: Vol. 3. Handbook of child psychology (6th ed.). (pp. 66–166). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  67. Roth-Hanania, R., Davidov, M., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2011). Empathy development from 8 to 16 months: Early signs of concern for others. Infant Behavior and Development, 34(3), 447–458.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2011.04.007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Sanchez-Jankowski, M. (2002). Minority youth and civic engagement: The Impact of Group Relations. Applied Developmental Science, 6, 237–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sherrod, L. R., & Lauckhardt, J. (2009). The development of citizenship. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology: Contextual influences on adolescent development (3rd ed.). (Vol. 2, pp. 372–408). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  70. Sherrod, L. R., Torney-Purta, J., & Flanagan, C. A. (2010). Handbook of research on civic engagement in youth. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.Google Scholar
  71. Sirianni, C., & Friedland, L. A. (2005). The civic renewal movement: Community building and democracy in the United States. Kettering Foundation Press, Dayton, OH.Google Scholar
  72. Steinberg, L., Graham, S., O’Brien, L., Woolard, J., Cauffman, E., & Banich, M. (2009). Age differences in future orientation and delay discounting. Child Development, 80(1), 28–44.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Syvertsen, A. K., Wray-Lake, L., Flanagan, C. A., Osgood, D. W., & Briddell, L. (2011). Thirty year trends in U.S. adolescents' civic engagement: A story of changing participation and educational differences. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21, 586–594.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  74. Syvertsen, A. K., Wray-Lake, L., & Metzger, A. (2015). Youth civic and character measures toolkit. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute.Google Scholar
  75. Torney-Purta, J. (2002). The school’s role in developing civic engagement: A study of adolescents in twenty-eight countries. Applied developmental Science, 6(4), 203–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Torney-Purta, J., Barber, C. H., & Wilkenfeld, B. (2007). Latino adolescents’ civic development in the United States: Research results from the IEA Civic Education Study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(2), 111–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Williams, B. (1985). Ethics and the limits of philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Williams, A., O'Driscoll, K., & Moore, C. (2014). The influence of empathic concern on prosocial behavior in children. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 425PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  79. Wray-Lake, L., Metzger, A., & Syvertsen, A. K. (2016). Testing multidimensional models of youth civic engagement: Model comparisons, measurement, measurement invariance, and age differences. Applied Developmental Science. https://doi.org/0.1080/10888691.2016.1205495.Google Scholar
  80. Wray-Lake, L., & Sloper, M. A. (2016). Investigating general and specific links from adolescents’ perceptions of ecological assets to their civic actions. Applied Developmental Science, 20(4), 250–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wray-Lake, L., & Syvertsen, A. (2011). The developmental roots of social responsibility in childhood and adolescence. In C. Flanagan, B. Christens (Vol. Eds.), L. Jensen & R. Larson (Series Eds.), New directions for child and adolescent development 134, (11–25). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  82. Youniss, J., Bales, S., Christmas-Best, V., Diversi, M., McLaughlin, M., & Silbereisen, R. (2002). Youth civic engagement in the twenty-first century. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 12(1), 121–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zaff, J. F., Boyd, M., Li, Y., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (2010a). Active and engaged citizenship: Multi-group and longitudinal factorial analysis of an integrated construct of civic engagement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39, 736–750.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-010-9541-6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. Zaff, J. F., Hart, D., Flanagan, C., Youniss, J., & Levine, P. (2010b). Developing civic engagement within a civic context. In M. Lamb & A. Freund (Eds.), The handbook of life-span development (pp. 590–624). New York, NY: Wiley.Google Scholar
  85. Zaff, J. F., Kawashima-Ginsberg, K., Lin, E. S., Lamb, M., Balsano, A., & Lerner, R. M. (2011). Developmental trajectories of civic engagement across adolescence: Disaggregation of an integrated construct. Journal of Adolescence, 34(6), 1207–1220.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  86. Zaff, J. F., Malanchuk, O., & Eccles, J. S. (2008). Predicting positive citizenship from adolescence to young adulthood: The effects of a civic context. Applied Development Science, 12(1), 38–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Metzger
    • 1
  • Lauren M. Alvis
    • 1
  • Benjamin Oosterhoff
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Babskie
    • 1
  • Amy Syvertsen
    • 3
  • Laura Wray-Lake
    • 4
  1. 1.West Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s HospitalHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Search InstituteMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations