Magazine article Psychology Today

Taking a Stand

Magazine article Psychology Today

Taking a Stand

Article excerpt

MANY INITIATIVES AIM to get young people excited about communal and political engagement, but do civically active youth turn out any different from the rest? Researchers recently analyzed data gathered from a sample of more than 9,000 young Americans as they grew from early adolescence into adulthood. The team compared youths who were similar on a variety of characteristics (such as school performance) but who differed-when asked between ages 18 and 27-on whether they had recently voted for president, volunteered, or engaged in activism by attending a political rally or march.

When surveyed half a decade later, those who had reported these experiences tended to disclose higher levels of education and personal earnings than those who had not. Voting and volunteering were additionally associated with fewer reported symptoms of depression and lower ratings on an index of risky health behaviors, such as smoking. …

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