Within United States politics, there is a deficit of women and people of color represented in office. Candidates with these identities are less likely to run than their white male counterparts, and it isn’t from lack of ability. Individuals are socialized about politics (and their potential roles within it) starting when they are children and continuing throughout their lives in a way that can enforce or counteract stereotypes and inequalities. This research used data on political socialization and interest from elementary school children aged 5-13 in the areas around four research sites in the United States, and hypothesized relationships between variables related to a constructed framework of Ethnic Political Socialization, variables related to political interest, and drawings participants produced when asked to picture a political leader. The framework of Ethnic Political Socialization proposed in this study was significantly predictive of both child political interest and how traditional a child’s drawing of a leader was. Draw-A-Political-Leader responses were not significantly predictive of child political interest nor did they mediate the relationship between Ethnic Political Socialization and child political interest, but did generate interesting if nonsignificant results in the latter case. These findings support the foundational and emerging literature emphasizing the importance of positive and inclusive socialization around race, gender, and career possibility by contributing evidence to the idea that how a child is socialized can affect their decisions to engage in politics and pursue it as an adult.


Foster, Nathan




Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Other Political Science


socialization, Ethnic-Political Socialization, Racial Socialization, Political Socialization, Draw-A-Political-Leader, Political Interest, Child Development, Developmental Psychology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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