The Resistance as Role Model: Disillusionment and Protest Among American Adolescents After 2016

  • David E. Campbell
  • Christina WolbrechtEmail author
Original Paper


We examine whether the unprecedented 2016 presidential election led to political disillusionment among young people, whether that disillusionment led to a withdrawal from politics or an intention to be more politically active, and if those effects vary by gender and partisan identity. Using a nationally-representative panel study of adolescents and their parents, we find that Democratic girls became more pessimistic about the responsiveness of the American political system in the wake of 2016. Democratic girls in general became substantially more interested in engaging in political protest after 2016, especially Democratic girls who became disillusioned with American politics. In addition, having a parent who became more likely to engage in protest after 2016 also encouraged more interest in protest among adolescents. We view these outcomes as evidence of the gendered character of the 2016 election (including the first woman nominee and the sexist language and behavior of her opponent) and the impact of activists in girls’ communities and families who served as role models for responding to the current political moment.


Political participation Political protest Sex Gender 2016 election 


Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 77 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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