Adolescents’ Perceived Control in the Sociopolitical Domain: A Latent Class Analysis

Brian D. Christens, N. Andrew Peterson, Robert J. Reid, Pauline Garcia-Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Sociopolitical control (SPC) has been identified as a critical component of empowerment, resilience and civic development among young people. Sociopolitical control has been assessed according to a two dimensional model: (1) leadership competence and (2) policy control. Very little is known, however, about heterogeneity of perceptions of SPC, how this heterogeneity is distributed across subpopulations, and how it may affect relationships between SPC and other variables. This study used a person-centered approach, latent class cluster analysis, to test items on a SPC scale for youth. Participants were high school students (n = 334) in the Northeastern United States. Four distinct groups of participants emerged: those with (1) exceptional SPC, (2) elevated SPC, (3) limited SPC, and (4) diminished policy control. Group differences were observed on a set of relevant variables including perceived school importance, tobacco use, bullying behaviors, and sense of community. Implications are discussed for policy, practice and future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-461
Number of pages19
JournalYouth and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 5 Jul 2015


  • aggressive behavior/bullying
  • civic engagement
  • educational achievement
  • political behavior
  • tobacco use


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