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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1996 Jul;71(1):130-40.

Meanings of political participation among black and white women: political identity and social responsibility.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


This study examined the correlates of midlife political participation among 64 Black and 107 White women of the college classes of 1967-1973. Compared with White women, Black women scored higher on political participation, generativity, power discontent, and politicization. Factor analysis of personality and political attitude variables yielded three factors labeled Political Identity, Power Discontent, and Social Responsibility. Adult political participation was regressed on level of student activism and index scores of political identity, power discontent, and social responsibility. For both racial groups, social responsibility was associated with midlife political participation. For White women, political identity was also related; for Black women, student activism bore a significant relationship. The findings suggest that Black and White women's historical and political contexts imbued their political activities with different meanings.

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