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Trust in Government and Goal Pursuit in a Transition Society

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

The development of life goals and aspirations is vital to positive youth development, and may be especially important in societies undergoing dramatic political and socioeconomic changes. Scholars have identified a wide range of factors associated with goal-directed behavior during youth, but the linkage between trust in government and goal pursuit has received scant attention in this literature. Using data from a nationally representative survey and focus group discussions with Russian youth, this study examines the impact of trust in government on goal pursuit in post-communist Russia. The analysis finds that trust in government has a significant effect on the likelihood of goal pursuit among 25–30 year old respondents, but a negligible impact on goal-oriented behavior of younger respondents. The results from the focus groups further suggest that failure avoidance, historical legacies, and limited access to resources inhibit goal pursuit in the post-communist state. The present analysis seeks to contribute to extant research by investigating youth development in a transition society.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political ScienceFordham UniversityFaber Hall, Rm. 677441 East Fordham RoadBronx, NY


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