What motivates civic involvement in teens?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- From gun control to immigration, there are a lot of issues dividing the country right now. But there is also a lot bringing us together. Through natural disasters and tragic attacks, people come together to help each other. Now new research suggests that stirring your child’s passion will make them more likely to become engaged. Here are more details on the driving forces behind this civic involvement.

Teens who volunteer are more likely have positive outcomes that follow them into adulthood. Through volunteering, they gain a strong work ethic, respect for others and are also more likely to vote. They are less likely to become pregnant or use drugs. With all of the benefits, why don’t more teens volunteer? Researchers interviewed 22 high school students. Half of the students were from low-resourced schools and the other half were from high-resourced schools.

They also found teens were more motivated to be involved when there was a specific personal issue that stirred their passions. Students in higher-resourced schools were more motivated to volunteer based on the belief that civic involvement helped them attain their goals, such as activities they could add to a college application, while students in lower-resourced schools were more likely to volunteer because of personal causes.

Fifty-five percent of teens participate in volunteer activities --- almost twice the adult volunteering rate, which is 29 percent.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.