Active and Engaged Citizenship (AEC)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The Active and Engaged Citizenship Questionnaire assesses the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components of active, engaged citizenship.

Main constructs measured

Intrapersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Grades 6-12

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration


Number of items 26
Item format

Five-point Likert-type scale

Administration time

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Available languages


Fee for use Free and publicly available
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

The overall AEC score is reported.

Subscore reporting

There are four subscores:

  • Civic duty
  • Civic efficacy
  • Neighborhood social connection
  • Civic participation
Scoring procedures

Scoring information is available upon request from developer.

Interpretive information

No information available in the references reviewed.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

Evidence was collected from 8th through 10th graders (N=1,990, N=1,203, N=2,371) in participating 4-H program sites in 32 states (Zaff et al., 2010).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency coefficients (Cronbach’s alpha) were estimated for the scales separately by the administration. For the overall AEC score, estimates ranged from 0.70 to 0.73. For the four subscales, estimates ranged from 0.76 to 0.92 (Zaff et al., 2010).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Expert panels were used to select and develop items for the questionnaire (Bobek et al., 2009).
Evidence based on response processes
No information available in the references reviewed.
Evidence based on internal structure
Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to substantiate the subscales on a preliminary version of the instrument (Bobek et al., 2009). Subsequent analyses on the AEC found support for a second-order factor model with four first-order factors and one higher order factor (Zaff et al., 2010). Evidence was found supporting measurement invariance across age and gender (Zaff et al., 2010).
Evidence based on relations with other variables
4-H participation was positively associated with all three subscale scores (Bobek et al., 2009).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Bobek, D. L., Zaff, J. F., Li, Y., & Lerner, R. M. , "Cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components of civic action: Towards an integrated measure of civic engagement," Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 30, No. 5, 2009, pp. 615–627.

Zaff, J., Boyd, M., Li, Y., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. "Active and engaged citizenship: Multi-group and longitudinal factorial analysis of an integrated construct of civic engagement," Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 39, No. 7, 2010, pp. 736–750.


This measure was developed as a part of the 4-H study of Positive Youth Development.

Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.