Edited By Esther Thorson, Mitchell S. McKinney and Dhavan Shah
Chapter Eight: The Importance of Family Communication Patterns and School Civics Experiences
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The Importance OF Family Communication Patterns AND School Civics Experiences
CHANG DAE HAM, JOONGHWA LEE, AND ESTHER THORSON
This study examines how news media exposure, parent-child communication patterns, and political and social discussions and activities independently and interactively influence adolescent political knowledge and interest. Of course, the 2008 presidential election remains a highly significant electoral contest to examine as youth involvement in the election of Barack Obama was particularly high (e.g., Soule & Nairne, 2009).
Much of the work on political participation has concluded that Americans are showing a diminished interest in politics. Since 1960 the overall voting rate has dropped in both presidential and congressional elections (Brody, 1978; Cassell & Luskin, 1988; Keeter, Zukin, Andolina, & Jenkins, 2002). Other political participation behaviors such as petitioning and attending rallies have also decreased (Putnam, 2000). In fact, over the past 4 decades, the voting rate of American youth has dropped more dramatically than all other age groups (see Delli Carpini, 2000). In understanding the apparent reversal in this trend as was witnessed in the 2008 presidential election, adolescents, as future voters, present a critical age cohort for political communication researchers to explore. Among all age groups, in fact, voters between the ages of 18 and 24 were the only group that demonstrated a statistically significant increase in turnout, representing an approximately 4% to 5% increase (an estimated 53–55% youth participation) compared with their turnout in...
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