The price of rights: High school students' civic values and behaviors

Angela L. Bos, Ian Williamson, John L. Sullivan, Marti Hope Gonzales, Patricia G Avery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous analyses of U.S. civics textbooks documented an overwhelming emphasis on citizen rights to the relative exclusion of citizen obligations and participation. Despite evidence of this uneven coverage, scholars have not yet investigated the psychological and behavioral consequences of this asymmetry, which may be especially consequential in the U.S., a predominantly individualistic culture. The present research does just this by analyzing survey data collected from high school students in civics courses. As expected, and in accordance with the content of civics curricula, students show greater endorsement of rights than of obligations. Moreover, higher support for obligations increases students' intention to vote and to participate in civic and extracurricular activities, whereas endorsement of rights is negatively associated with political participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1265-1284
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume37
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007

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