Original Research

Does religion affect political engagement of the youth at the tertiary level of education? The case of undergraduate students at a South African university

Acheampong Y. Amoateng
Theologia Viatorum | Vol 44, No 1 | a21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/tv.v44i1.21 | © 2020 Acheampong Y. Amoateng | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 May 2019 | Published: 24 February 2020

About the author(s)

Acheampong Y. Amoateng, Population and Health Research Entity, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa


The aim of this study is to examine religion’s effect on the political engagement of the youth using data from a sample of undergraduate students at the North-West University in South Africa. The logit regression model analysis showed that contrary to what the participation literature would expect, socio-economic factors such as parental education, age and gender were not significant predictors of the political engagement of the youth. However, consistent with the study’s conceptualisation of political engagement as a multi-dimensional concept, gender, race, ethnicity and family structure were all significantly predictive of different aspects of political engagement of the youth. Males were more likely than females to engage in politics, while black Africans were politically more active than the white and mixed race South Africans. While both self-rated religiosity and importance of religion in the life of the youth predicted their political engagement, their influences were in opposite directions. Finally, civic skills acquired in non-religious contexts were positively associated with every aspect of political engagement of the youth.


religion; political engagement; youth; civic skills; logit regression


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