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Democracy begins at home : parenting, empathy, and adolescents' support for democratic values
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Åbo Akademi University.
2012 (English)Report (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Democracies are rare historically and inherently fragile.  Their existence depends on more than formal institutions or an absence of dictators and extremists. In other words, the democratic quality of a political regime requires citizens who support democratic values. To this end, it is important to understand which factors lead individuals to feel committed to a democratic creed. Although it is assumed that support for democratic values develops as a result of social learning, concrete socializing circumstances are less obvious. The classical literature on political socialization pointed to parents as a direct determinant of youth civic formation. However, in contemporary societies, few parents hold explicit goals to influence the political preferences of their children. The present study aims at advancing this discourse by assessing the direct and indirect role of parenting for the democratic commitments of adolescents.  Method: This study was conducted on two random samples. One consisted of 1,341 secondary-school students, aged 17, from three regions of Finland (South, South-West, and West). The second consisted of 678 secondary-school students, aged 16 at baseline, from the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium. The study comprised of questionnaires which were administered during regular school hours.  Results: The present study yielded some important findings. First, it showed that empathy is a good predictor of adolescents’ democratic commitments (Article I). Second, it provided evidence for the influence of supportive parenting on the development of empathy in adolescence (Article II). Third, it tested empathy as a predictor of democratic values in light of other significant variables (Article III). Fourth, it provided evidence that democratic parenting might be directly and non-directly, i.e. through adolescents’ empathic skills, related to youth support for democratic values (Article IV).  Conclusion: Overall, this study showed direct and indirect ways in which parenting might influence the democratic orientation of adolescents and gave recommendations for the democratic education of citizens. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Åbo Akademi , 2012. , 44 p.
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-136812ISBN: 978-952-12-2682-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-136812DiVA: diva2:1113925
Available from: 2017-06-22 Created: 2017-06-22 Last updated: 2017-06-22

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http://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/73933/miklikowska_marta.pdf?sequence=2

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
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More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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