From the Anti-War protests and the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s to the March for Our Lives demonstration and the Climate Change strikes, youth have led and participated in countless of movements throughout history to now.This study aims to examine the relationship between youth membership in social movements and the likelihood of social movement success. Therefore, I test two hypotheses. First, I hypothesize that age diversity will have a positive effect on the likelihood of campaign success. Then, I hypothesize that movements composed of mostly young people will increase the likelihood that the public see movement members and leaders as bold and inspirational, and as a result, positively impact their likelihood to support the movement. I use two different methods to test each one of my hypotheses. For the first hypothesis, I conducted various statistical analyses using Stephen and Lewis’s NAVCO 2.0 dataset to analyze the relationship between the age diversity of campaigns and campaign success (Chenoweth and Lewis 2013). For the second hypothesis, I conducted a survey experiment using Mturk, an Amazon-run service, to evaluate the relationship between the age composition of social movements and their ability to gain public support. The results do not provide support for my first hypothesis but provide support for part of my second hypothesis, specifically the relationship between the intervening variable, public perception of the movement, and dependent variable, the public’s likelihood of supporting the movement.


Leiby, Michele

Second Advisor

Bienvenu, Fiacre


Political Science


Other Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Social Psychology


youth, youth movements, age, reverse ageism, social movements, youth political efficacy

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2020 Claire F. Miller