Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
This study investigated the salience of a cognitive social learning model for understanding the process by which an individual decides to participate in a neighborhood association. An operationalized set of cognitive social learning variables served as the dimensions of the hypothesized model to explain citizen participation. The subjects included 229 adult (18 years and older) Jewish Israelis. Of the total pool of subjects, 112 were graduates of Project Renewal neighborhood activist training programs who were interview in their homes. The remaining 117 subjects were nonactivists randomly selected from the same neighborhoods as the activists. Forty nine percent of the subjects were men; 86% were married. Questions asked by trained interviewers included a set of operationalized cognitive social learning variables and self reported indices of participation. The data were analyzed using a structural equation modeling statistical method which allowed one to simultaneously examine hypothesized relationships among several constructs in an integrated statistical model. Two different models of participation were tested then compared using three indices of model to data fit; the Comparative Fit Index, ML Chi-Square Statistic, and The RMSR. A Chi-Square Difference test was then conducted to determine the best model to data fit between the two models. For Model 1, the indicators of goodness of fit supported a reasonable fit between the model and data. However, for Model 2, indicators of goodness of fit supported an excellent model to data fit. The majority of the predictions were found to be significant. Importance of Neighborhood, Perceived Skills and Past Experience Relevant to Participation, and Political Cynicism were found to be directly related to an individual's decision to participate in a neighborhood association. In addition, Perceived Skills and Past Experience Relevant to Participation and Political Cynicism were found to be significant mediating variables in the process of deciding to participate. Given these results the cognitive social learning approach is proposed as an acceptable framework by which the process by which an individual decides to participate might be understood.
Whitworth, Donald R., "A Structural Equation Model of a Set of Operationalized Cognitive Social Learning Variables and Citizen Participation in Neighborhood Organizations" (1993). Open Access Dissertations. Paper 919.