Friends, Trust, and Civic Engagement

29 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2007

See all articles by Katherine Heck

Katherine Heck

Human and Community Development

James H. Fowler

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences; UC San Diego School of Medicine

Date Written: October 1, 2007

Abstract

Previous research has indicated that higher levels of social interactions, or greater social capital, tend to create higher levels of civic engagement and social trust. We used a large, nationally representative longitudinal survey of youth to examine the relationship between social capital, as measured by reported friendships in junior high and high school, and experiences in young adulthood with various dimensions of community engagement and trust in the federal, state, and local governments. After adjustment for a number of potential confounding variables, results showed that the total number of friends students had in middle and high school was positively associated with community engagement and trust in all levels of government in young adulthood. These findings suggest that social relationships, community engagement, and trust in government are linked, and that social experiences early in life may have an enduring effect on the capacity of communities and political institutions to govern themselves.

Suggested Citation

Heck, Katherine and Fowler, James H., Friends, Trust, and Civic Engagement (October 1, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1024985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1024985

Katherine Heck (Contact Author)

Human and Community Development ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

James H. Fowler

UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

UC San Diego School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

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