Volunteering among youths in the United Kingdom

Publication type

Conference Paper


British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2013: engaging sociology


Publication date

April 5, 2013


This paper tests the individual-level and household-level human, social, and cultural capital
predictors of the frequency of civic engagement (volunteer, political and organisational
involvement) among 4,760 youths aged 10 to 15 years in the UK. Human capital resources do
not consistently predict youth civic engagement. Initial social class differences in civic
engagement disappear after controlling for cultural capital resources. Self-esteem is positively
correlated with organisational involvement but negatively so with political activity. In terms of
social capital resources, number of friends is positively associated with volunteering and political
activity. Cultural capital resources are the most relevant as aesthetic tastes and parental role
modelling both positively predict of all three forms of civic engagement. Policy should focus on
engaging young lower social class urban White males and encouraging parental civic
involvement or mentoring programs that supplement engagement.




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