Political Activism of Palestinian Youth: Exploring Individual, Parental, and Ecological Factors


  • College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, Brigham Young University, 922 SWKT, Provo, UT 84602.

  • This article was edited by Deborah Carr.

Center for the Study of Youth and Political Conflict, University of Tennessee, 2110 Terrace Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996-1912 (cturnley@utk.edu).


The growing literature on youth and political conflict has not included an adequate focus on youth activism. To address this deficit, this study used youth- and parent-reported data (N = 6,718) from the 1994–1995 Palestinian Family Study to test an ecological model of family influence (parents' activism, expectations for their adolescents' activism, support, psychological control), youth characteristics (self-evaluation), and elements of the broader social ecology (socioeconomic status, religiosity, and region of residence) predicting Palestinian 9th graders' political activism during the first intifada (1987–1993). Parental activism was the strongest predictor of youth activism, both directly and via parental expectations for activism. Classic parenting behaviors were not systematically useful in understanding activism; neither were socioeconomic status or religiosity. The model applied equally well for sons and daughters, with the exception that maternal activism contributed uniquely to daughters' activism beyond the significant effect of fathers' activism.