Journal of Community Psychology

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Early View Articles

Examining contextual and relational factors influencing perceptions of societal and interpersonal mattering among rural youth

Abstract Researchers have shown that interpersonal and societal mattering have important implications for adolescent development. Yet, few researchers have focused on what predicts mattering, particularly societal mattering, and even fewer have studied mattering among rural youth. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore how perceived contextual and relationship factors affect rural youths’ perceptions of societal and interpersonal mattering. Participants for this study were 381 middle school youth from two rural school districts in Michigan. Using structural equation modeling, we found that more positive perceptions regarding opportunities for youth involvement, availability of community resources, student input in decision‐making at school, and support for autonomy at school were associated with greater perceptions of societal mattering. In addition, greater support from friends, higher quality parent–child communication, and more parental involvement were associated with a greater sense of interpersonal mattering. This study identifies important relational and contextual factors that can be enhanced in an effort to foster greater perceptions of interpersonal and societal mattering among rural youth, and ultimately help us to promote positive youth development.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>