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Potential leverage effects of political efficacy on youths’ political participation
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7009-5955
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The issue of some people engage frequently in political activities while others rarely or never get involved is a key theme in the field of political socialization. In this paper we study three of the main predictors of youths’ political behavior: political interest, political knowledge and political efficacy. Much attention has already been paid to the influence each of these factors have on political participation separately but few studies have investigated the potential interaction effects between them. Our study takes this step and explores the possible leverage effects of strong political efficacy beliefs in combination with high political interest orpolitical knowledge.

The data consist of a longitudinal study including 1857 youths at Time 1 (M age=15.03; 51.1% male, 48.9% female) and 1530 youths at Time 2 (M age=15.79; 50.3% male, 49.7% female). Moderated regression analysis in Mplus is used to investigate the impact of political knowledge, political interest and political efficacy on political participation. The interaction effects of political efficacy and the two other predictors are then tested using simple slope tests.

We conclude that, political efficacy and political interest show a significant interaction effect on political participation, while no effect is found for political efficacy and knowledge. In other words, the effect of high political interest on political participation is stronger for youths who also have a strong belief in their own capacity to perform political actions. A politically interested person is more likely to take political action if s/he also believes in her/his ability to produce a change in society.

Keyword [en]
political participation, youth, political efficacy, political interest, political knowledge, interaction effects
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-36102OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-36102DiVA: diva2:740422
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
Note

This study was made possible by access to data from the Political Socialization Program, a longitudinal research program at YeS (Youth & Society) at Örebro University, Sweden. Professors Erik Amnå, Mats Ekström, Margaret Kerr, and Håkan Stattin were responsible for the planning, implementation, and financing of the collection of data.

Available from: 2014-08-25 Created: 2014-08-25 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Youths' political efficacy: sources, effects and potentials for political equality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Youths' political efficacy: sources, effects and potentials for political equality
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to increase knowledge of political efficacy,both theoretically and empirically. A thorough theoretical discussion iscombined with empirical studies of the development of political efficacy and of its effects on political participation. The results are also discussed in the light of political equality.

In three papers, quantitative data on Swedish adolescents are analyzed. The first paper discusses what political efficacy actually entails. Based on an overview of previous research, a merged multidisciplinary perspective with a focus on people’s beliefs in their capacities to perform political actions is presented. Four main pathways concerning how youths gain political efficacy are tested. The second paper’s main question is whether, and in which ways, schools can help students gain political efficacy. In the light of political equality, it reflects upon the individual and societal effects of potential gains in youths’ political efficacy. The third paper scrutinizes the effects of political efficacy on political participation. In addition, the combinations of having political efficacy beliefs, and political knowledge or interest, are tested in order to explore potential interaction (leverage) effects. Altogether, this dissertation presents a more refined and stringent view on political efficacy. It further clarifies the concept itself, which may aid clearer, more coherent, and less ambiguous research. It also provides an input into an existing framework for understanding the development of youths’ political efficacy. Finally, it finds that political efficacy seems to work as a lever for participation. Combined with political interest, it facilitatesthe transformation of psychological engagement into political action.

The findings will inform discussion on the implications of stimulating youths’ political efficacy to promote political participation and political equality. By boosting political efficacy along various pathways – in part independently of socioeconomic status – political equality may be promoted by benefiting the least advantaged.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2014. 116 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 37
Keyword
Political Efficacy, Political Socialization, Youth, Political Equality, Political Participation, School
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-35006 (URN)978-91-7529-038-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-09-26, Forumhuset, Biografen, Örebro universitet, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-12 Created: 2014-05-12 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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