Motivations for Political Discussion: Antecedents and Consequences on Civic Engagement

Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Sebastián Valenzuela, Brian E. Weeks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Scholarship on informal discussion of politics and current events has mainly focused on its cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral effects. In comparison, fewer studies have addressed the antecedents of political talk. Using 2-wave U.S. panel survey data, this study sheds light over 2 sets of motivations people may have for engaging in political conversation: civic-oriented and social-oriented goals; and their effects over civic participation. Using structural equation modeling, results suggest that both civic and social motivations are positive predictors of frequency of political discussion, and indirectly associated with civic engagement. From a theoretical perspective, these findings cast political talk as a more complex phenomenon than what deliberative theory suggests, and point to social motivations as an additional path to civic life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-552
Number of pages20
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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