Experience Matters: Civic Discussion Increases Self-Efficacy and Reduces Forecasted Discomfort in Future Conversations

Nathaniel Geiger, Janet K. Swim, Robyn K. Mallett, Laurie L. Mulvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interpersonal conversation about civic issues lays groundwork for cooperation and collective action, yet such conversation is uncommon. Across three studies (total N = 2,066), we find that (a) hesitation to discuss a civic topic is predicted by forecasted discomfort about such conversations (Study 1), (b) individuals tend to overestimate discomfort in such future civic conversations (Study 1), (c) forecasted discomfort is lower for those with greater experience discussing the topic (Study 2) and after a formal discussion experience, especially for those with little prior experience (Study 3), and (d) this negative relationship between experience and forecasted discomfort can be explained by greater perceived ability to discuss the topic (i.e., self-efficacy; Studies 2 and 3). Collectively, results show that forecasted discomfort is associated with reduced willingness to engage in civic conversation, and topic-relevant discussions can reduce forecasted discomfort by boosting self-efficacy, particularly for those for whom discussing the topic is novel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)922-933
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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