The Influence of Sense of Community, Social Norms, Linkages and Knowledge of Opportunities on the Civic Engagement Behaviors of College Students

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Title: The Influence of Sense of Community, Social Norms, Linkages and Knowledge of Opportunities on the Civic Engagement Behaviors of College Students
Author: Bivens, Tabitha Lynn
Advisors: Roger E. Mitchell, Committee Chair
Rupert W. Nacoste, Committee Member
Tom J. Hoban, Committee Member
Abstract: Civic engagement has recently received increased attention because of its importance for keeping America's democratic society thriving. However, little is known about how a student's university experiences influence the student's civic engagement activities beyond the university campus. This study examined how students' university experiences (i.e. sense of university community, linkages to community groups, knowledge of engagement opportunities) relate to civic engagement behaviors among seniors within the community outside of the university. Social norms regarding engagement expressed by university groups were analyzed as moderators of the relationship between sense of community and civic engagement. Covariates included length of time out of school, gender, and parental activity in modeling civic engagement. Civic engagement included five domains of behavior: civic activities, electoral activities, expression of political voice, cognitive engagement, and campus engagement. Hierarchical regression was used to analyze direct and moderating effects. Parental activity and group expectations were significant predictors of all four measures of off-campus civic engagement (i.e.: civic activities, electoral activities, expression of political voice, cognitive engagement). Length of time out of schools was significantly associated with political voice, cognitive engagement, and campus engagement. Linkages was significantly related only to civic activities and campus engagement. Sense of community was significantly related to campus engagement, but not with any of the off-campus civic engagement measures. There was no support for the hypotheses group expectations would moderate a relationship between sense of community and measures of off-campus civic engagement.
Date: 2006-11-28
Degree: MS
Discipline: Psychology
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1878


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