Civic and political involvement among young adults: Exploring political talk, political efficacy and political participation in a community context
Hash, Andrae Stephen
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This study expands research on uses and gratifications by exploring political information-seeking uses of the Internet and social networking sites (SNS) and their relationships with political efficacy and political participation. Approximately 300 young adults completed a survey covering information-seeking, information access, and information sharing uses for local civic and political purposes. The study hypothesizes that young adults' political talk, particularly in their online social networks, is associated with political efficacy. Variables that support the relationship between information-seeking and political efficacy are also explored. Random and convenience samples of young adults were combined in this study to explore the cognitive (perceived efficacy) and civic (actual behavior) behaviors of undergraduate students at Virginia Tech in order to examine the role of political talk in individuals' opinion networks measured by the outcome of political talk. Results show considerable support for hypotheses emphasizing the predicted relationships between Internet and SNS for political information-seeking uses, political efficacy, and political participation gratifications. Future research exploring the broad range of political communication uses and their association with political efficacy and political participation is warranted.
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