Is news media related to civic engagement? The effects of interest in and discussions about the news media on current and future civic engagement of adolescents

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    Abstract

    This study explored whether discussions about the media, when positively linked to interest in the news media, were related to adolescents' current and future civic engagement. A sample of 2638 adolescents (age . M = 17, . SD = 1.2), who participated in a school-based study on positive socialization, completed self-report measures on interest in the news media and discussions about the media with parents and friends. Current civic engagement was measured by involvement in volunteering and civic commitments. Future civic engagement was measured by intentions to participate in civic activities in the future. The results showed that more interpersonal discussions about the media and higher interest in the news media both predicted higher civic engagement. Positive links between discussions about the media and current civic engagement were partly mediated by interest in the news media. In addition, interest in the news media together with current civic engagement fully mediated a positive link between discussions about the media and future civic engagement. Moderating effects of gender were observed, with discussions about the media a better predictor of boys' interest in the news media, and current civic engagement a better predictor of girls' future civic engagement.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)587-597
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of Adolescence
    Volume35
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

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    Keywords

    • Adolescence
    • Civic commitments
    • Civic engagement
    • The news media

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Social Psychology

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