Intended Social Participation in Adolescence: How Many Individual Developmental Trajectories Can Be Identified?

Rasa Pilkauskaitė-Valickienė, Rita Žukauskienė


The main purpose of this study was to ascertain if there existed different trajectories of intended social participation during the period of four years in adolescence using the person-oriented approach. The main task was to find out how many different and what kind of trajectories of intended social participation could be there.
Method. The cluster analysis was accomplished using a modified LICUR procedure from the statistical package SLEIPNER (Bergman et al., 2003). Student participants (N=745, M=15.4, SD=0.54 during Time 1) were drawn from eight high schools. The same participants were surveyed annually (4 times) using the Intended Social Participation scale. This study followed with four annual assessments during the spring months. The 1st assessment took place in 2008, and the 4th—in 2011. Questionnaires were administered by the researchers after obtaining the consent of school authorities and parents. Questionnaires were completed in class during regular class hours voluntary.
Results. The main criteria in finding an appropriate number of clusters to extract indicated that a six-cluster solution was acceptable. Below, the trajectories are described by number of participants and homogeneity coefficient: Trajectory 1: “low stable” (n=47, hc=0.61); Trajectory 2: “decreasing” (n=44, hc=0.91); Trajectory 3: “average” (n=117, hc=0.77); Trajectory 4: “unstable” (n=42, hc=0.95); Trajectory 5: “increasing” (n=130, hc=0.87); Trajectory 6: “high stable” (n=33, hc=0.83). The inspection of the trajectories profiles provided a meaningful and distinct classification for the six-cluster solution, because all patterns differed from each other in shape, magnitude, or both. This solution is defined by two constant developmental trajectories at different levels of participation (“low stable” and “high stable”), one trajectory following a decreasing linear function, one increasing, and two unstable trajectories reflecting a slight cubic trend (“unstable” and “average”).
Conclusion. Six different trajectories of intended participation in social activities in the future are identified, which are differing among themselves in their initial estimates and/or in their form and/or in their level of expression and stability. Theoretically the existence of differing developmental trajectories reinforces the importance of person oriented approach as the complexity and multidimensionality of this phenomenon is stressed in the period of late adolescence. From the practical side we hold that the context could play a significant role in the development of intended participation in social activities.


intended social participation; developmental trajectories; late adolescence

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789