Powerless in the digital age? A systematic review and meta-analysis of political efficacy and digital media use

Shelley Boulianne, Jennifer Oser, Christian P. Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many citizens feel powerless in the current globalized political context, despite the potential of digital media to increase their perceptions of being informed about politics and expand their opportunities to interact with elected officials to try to influence government decisions. We analyzed 193 studies to document the most popular ways to conceptualize, measure, and model political efficacy when also studying digital media. Furthermore, we conducted a meta-analysis of correlations. We find that the positive estimates are larger, on average, when considering internal political efficacy and smaller but still positive when considering external political efficacy. We also examine how the relationships differ according to the type of media use and political system, whether authoritarian (e.g. China) or democratic. We propose a theoretical framework that considers reciprocal effects. Online information may contribute to feelings of being informed about politics and feelings of being informed lead to online political participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2512-2536
Number of pages25
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume25
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023

Keywords

  • Digital media
  • external efficacy
  • internal efficacy
  • political efficacy
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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