Unpacking the Link between Family Socioeconomic Status and Civic Engagement during the Transition to Adulthood: Do Work Values Play a Role?

A new study by Lechner, Pavlova, Sortheix, Silbereisen and Salmela-Aro was just accepted for publication in the journal Applied Developmental Science:



We investigated whether the link between family-of-origin socioeconomic status (SES) and civic engagement in young adulthood is mediated by youth’s work values, i.e., the desired characteristics of their current or future jobs. We used data from a Finnish study: 2004 (age 16–18, NT1 = 1,301); 2011 (age 23–25, N T2 = 1,096); and 2014 (age 25–27, NT3 = 1,138). A higher family SES in 2004 predicted youth’s higher civic engagement in 2014. A higher family SES also predicted a lower importance of extrinsic job rewards (e.g., good pay) in 2011, but it was unrelated to the importance of intrinsic job rewards (e.g., learning opportunities). Extrinsic work values, in turn, predicted lower civic engagement in 2014, above and beyond sociodemographic and personality characteristics. Intrinsic work values predicted higher civic engagement. Thus, extrinsic, but not intrinsic, work values partly mediated the link between family SES and youth
civic engagement.