Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Roderick J. Watts - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. James Emshoff

Third Advisor

Dr. Gabriel Kuperminc


Interest in youth civic engagement continues to increase and a small but growing group of organizations are seeking to get young people involved in political activism. At the same time, researchers are giving more attention to the features of adolescent settings and how they relate to the overall development of young people. What remains to be absent is a contextual understanding of how the characteristics of adolescent settings contribute specifically to political development. The purpose of this study is to identify organizational level characteristics of youth organizations that promote the political development of adolescents. Semi-structured interviews and grounded theory analysis with 15 young activists revealed a “Big Six” of organizational characteristics and properties that influence participation in societal involvement behaviors. Post hoc analyses also revealed potential relationships between political development and the Big Six. Implications for both theory and practice are discussed and directions for future research are delineated.

Included in

Psychology Commons