Cyclical Patters of Influence: Identifying the Relationship Between Community Service and Adolecent Identity Development
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The current study focuses on adolescents' motivations to become involved in community service, the effect of identity on community service participation, and the effect of community service participation on identity development. In order to examine these topics, a study was conducted with three groups of community service workers: a group of younger adolescents performing required service, a group of older adolescents performing voluntary service in fulfillment of an organization's requirements, and a group of older adolescents performing strictly voluntary service. These adolescents were observed, surveyed, and interviewed in order to gain perspectives on their motivations for and outcomes of their community service. Their identities were considered within the theoretical frameworks of Erikson, Marcia, and Kohlberg. Identity development and community service proved not to be connected via one-way relationships, but rather in a reciprocal and cyclical manner.