Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 21–35 | Cite as

Transition or transformation? Personal and political development of former Berkeley Free Speech Movement activists

  • Alberta J. Nassi
  • Stephen I. Abramowitz


Former Berkeley Free Speech Movement activists' sociopolitical status, self and ideal self constructions, perceptions of parents' child-rearing practices and moral reasoning were compared with an assessment made 11 years earlier following the Berkeley Sproul Hall sit-in. Activists were found to be less politically active, more tempered in their political radicalism, more pragmatic and personally reactive in their self and ideal self conceptualizations, more critical in their perceptions of parental relationships, and stable in their level of moral development. While activists appear to have made some important life transitions, an argument is made for their continued distinctiveness as a generational cohort both politically and psychosocially.


Health Psychology School Psychology Moral Reasoning Movement Activist Moral Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abramowitz, S. I. (1973). The comparative competence-adjustment of student left socialpolitical activists.J. Personal. 41: 244–260.Google Scholar
  2. Adorno, T. W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D. J., and Sanford, R. N. (1950).The Authoritarian Personality, Harper, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Block, J. (1965). The child-rearing practices report. Unpublished manuscript, Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  4. Demerath, N. J., III, Marwell, G., and Aiken, M. T. (1971).Dynamics of Idealism, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  5. Draper, H. (1965).Berkeley: The New Student Revolt, Grove, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Eisenstadt, S. N. (1956).From Generation to Generation, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Fendrich, J. M. (1974). Activists ten years later: A test of generational unit continuity.J. Soc. Issues 30: 95–118.Google Scholar
  8. Fendrich, J. M., and Tarleau, A. T. (1973). Marching to a different drummer: Occupational and political correlates of former student activists.Soc. Forces 52: 245–253.Google Scholar
  9. Feuer, L. (1969).The Conflict of Generations, Basic Books, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Geller, J. D., and Howard, G. (1972). Some sociopsychological characteristics of student political activists.J. App. Soc. Psychol. 2: 114–137.Google Scholar
  11. Greene, W. (1970). Where are the Savios of yesteryear?,N. Y. Times Magazine July 21: 6–9; 35–37.Google Scholar
  12. Haan, N. (1974). Changes in young adults after Peace Corps experience: Political-social views, moral reasoning, and perceptions of self and parentsJ. Youth Adoles. 3: 177–193.Google Scholar
  13. Haan, N., Smith, M. B., and Block, J. H. (1968). Moral reasoning of young adults: Politicalsocial behavior, family background, and personality correlates.J. Personal. Soc. Psychol. 10: 183–201.Google Scholar
  14. Keniston, K. (1968).Young Radicals: Notes on Committed Youth, Harcourt, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Keniston, K. (1974).Radicals and Militants: An Annotated Bibliography of Empirical Research on Campus Unrest, Lexington, Lexington, Mass.Google Scholar
  16. Kerpelman, L. C. (1972).Activists and Nonactivists: A Psychological Study of American College Students, Behavioral Publications, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Kohlberg, L., and Kramer, R. (1969). Continuities and discontinuities in childhood and adult moral development.Hum. Dev. 12: 93–120.Google Scholar
  18. Levinson, D. J. (1959). T.A.P. social attitude battery. Mimeographed paper, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  19. Lipset, S. M., and Ladd, E. C. (1972). The political future of activist generations. In Altbach, P. G., and Laufer, R. S. (eds.),The New Pilgrims: Youth Protest in Transition, McKay, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Maidenberg, M., and Meyer, P. (1970). The Berkeley rebels: Five years later.Pub. Opin. Quart. 24: 477–478. (Abstract)Google Scholar
  21. Mannheim, K. (1972). The problem of generations. In Altbach, P. B., and Laufer, R. S. (eds.),The New Pilgrims: Youth Protest in Transition, McKay, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Parsons, T. (1962). Youth in the context of American society.Daedalus 91: 97–132.Google Scholar
  23. Smith, M. B., Haan, N., and Block, J. (1970). Social-psychological aspects of student activism.Youth Soc. 1: 261–288.Google Scholar
  24. Trent, J. W., and Craise, J. L. (1967). Commitment and conformity in the American college.J. Soc. Iss. 23: 34–51.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberta J. Nassi
    • 1
  • Stephen I. Abramowitz
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology intern, Counseling CenterUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeley
  2. 2.University of California School of Medicine at DavisSacramento

Personalised recommendations