Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 109-125

First online:

Political legitimacy and approval of political protest and violence among children and adolescents

  • Charles FunderburkAffiliated withDepartment of Political Science, Wright State University

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A question of general theoretical relevance for political socialization research concerns the role played by basic political orientations in structuring specific political opinions. This report investigates the relationship between beliefs in the legitimacy of political objects and approval of political protest and violence among a sample of children and adolescents. The setting for the research was a Florida town. Four aspects of political legitimacy are defined and measured. Measures of approval of political protest and political violence are distinguished conceptually and empirically. Beliefs in political legitimacy are shown to be of considerable importance in structuring opinions about political violence but have little impact on opinions about protest.