Ties that bind

correlates of adolescents' civic commitments in seven countries

Constance A. Flanagan*, Jennifer M. Bowes, Britta Jonsson, Beno Csapo, Elena Sheblanova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

206 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship of voluntary work, school climates, and family values to public interest as a life goal of adolescents is presented for a sample of 5,57912-18 year olds in three stable and four transitional democracies. In five of the seven countries, females were more likely than males to be engaged in voluntary work, and in all seven countries girls were more likely than boys to report that their families encouraged an ethic of social responsibility. Regardless of gender or country, adolescents were more likely to consider public interest an important life goal when their families emphasized an ethic of social responsibility. In addition, engagement in volunteer work and a sense of student solidarity at school were formative components of public interest as a life goal for youth in some but not all countries. A citizen is, most simply, a member of a political community, entitled to whatever prerogatives and encumbered with whatever responsibilities are attached to membership. The word comes to us from the Latin civis; the Greek equivalent ispolites, member of the polls, from which comes our political.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-475
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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