Edited By Esther Thorson, Mitchell S. McKinney and Dhavan Shah
Chapter Sixteen: Political Knowledge and Participation in Teens During Low and High Political Interest Periods of a Presidential Election
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Political Knowledge AND Participation IN Teens
During Low and High Political Interest Periods of a Presidential Election
ESTHER THORSON, MI JAHNG, AND MITCHELL S. McKINNEY
This study examines how the three structural variables most closely associated with political socialization—family, school, and child demographics—along with news media exposure and cognitive attitudinal features of the youth predict political knowledge and political participation during three time periods surrounding a presidential election: 6 months before the 2008 presidential election, 6 weeks immediately following the election, and 6 months after the election. All three surveys of the Future Voters Study (as described in the Introduction) were employed, and thus the data involve the same parents and children, but at three time points. As might be expected, self-reported political interest during these three time periods was highest right after the election, and lower before the election and 6 months after the election. This longitudinal panel study provides an excellent opportunity to examine factors that are known to affect political knowledge and participation under very different political involvement levels.
Of course, given our analysis involved repeated measures administered to the same parents and children at each time point, with the inevitable dropout over time, there are the usual challenges of longitudinal data. Fortunately, however, there was remarkable consistency in sample measures across time.
A MODEL OF POLITICAL SOCIALIZATION
The model of political socialization guiding...
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