Accounting for the Decreasing Willingness of U.S. High School Seniors to Protest, 1976–2015

Hyun Woo Kim, John D. McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Protest waves ebb and flow in contemporary America. Willingness to protest is a key precursor to a fledgling citizen’s potential for eventually being mobilized to participate in a public demonstration. Here, we explore trends in high school seniors’ willingness to protest from 1976 through 2015, employing annual data from the Monitoring the Future survey. After modest increases in willingness to protest that occurred for cohorts during the early-1990s, willingness to protest has steadily decreased for subsequent cohorts. We found that political interest, prior political experiences, and social engagement have a significant impact on time-series and cross-sectional variations in the willingness to protest for all cohorts. We address the larger implications of our research findings for theories of political participation and social movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-549
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Currents
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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