Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



The Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy 2 (2008): 1-19


© 2008 New Prairie Press


The low educational outcomes of rural adolescents have long been a subject of research among educational and social researchers. In particular, extant studies have explained the high rates of high school dropout and low rates of college completion among rural adolescents mainly in terms of the structural and economic disadvantages associated with rural life. However, more recent research have employed social capital theory to show that rural adolescents‟ educational outcomes are shaped not only by the structural elements of their communities, but, also importantly by the dynamics of the social interactive processes taking place within this social environment. The present article provides a synthesis and review of literature on the relationship between community social interactive processes and rural adolescents‟ educational outcomes. The article is divided into four sections; the first section is an introduction to the study. The second section is a review of literature on what is known about the relationship between community social capital and educational outcomes in general. The third section is a discussion on the dynamics of the relationship between community social capital and adolescents‟ educational outcomes within the context of rural communities, while the fourth section discusses some identified research gaps and the need for further studies on the influence of community social interactive forces on rural adolescents‟ educational outcomes.