Political Apathy Spreads from Parents to Adolescent Children

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by EurekAlert!

Political apathy is growing in democracies around the world. Political apathy, also known as political alienation, describes feelings of separation and disaffection, a sense of powerlessness and an indifference to politics and political institutions. A hallmark of political alienation is a refusal to vote or participate in political activities. Adolescents and young adults are no exception to these trends. In many countries in Europe and North America, the youngest voters have the lowest participation rates.

Why are new voters so apathetic about politics? Many factors are at play. However, a new study from researchers at Florida Atlantic University focused on one of the most salient: parent attitudes about politics.

The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, indicates that political disaffection spreads from parents to children. Specifically, parent political alienation predicted subsequent increases in adolescent child political alienation one year later for youth who described relationships with parents as warm, but not for those who described relationships with parents as distant.

Put simply, in households where parents and adolescents are close, parents transmit political apathy to their adolescent children, which may have the unfortunate consequence of contributing to low political participation among young voters.

The findings from this new study are important because they point to a potentially promising new avenue of raising political participation among young voters: targeting the political attitudes of those with whom they are close, particularly their parents.

Source: EurekAlert!

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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