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Zaff, J.F., O. Malanchuk, and Jacquelynne S. Eccles. 2008. "Predicting positive citizenship from adolescence to young adulthood: The effects of a civic context." Applied Developmental Science, 12(1): 38-53.
Researchers have theorized that programs to promote positive citizenship should begin with an opportunity for adolescents to participate in civic activities, such as community service or political volunteering. In this article we extend the theory by arguing that a more systemic approach is needed, in which a civic context is developed to promote citizenship. We hypothesize that living within a consistent civic context leads to civic engagement in late adolescence and into young adulthood. We use a diverse, longitudinal dataset to test this hypothesis. We find that social interactions with peers, parent modeling of civic behaviors, and cultural factors, such as ethnicity-specific practices, cumulatively result in a higher level of civic activities among youth and that a continued context that includes these factors results in a higher level of civic activities into adulthood. The implications of our findings are discussed with regard to program and policy development.