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Efficacy and concern: A new model for political engagement

Allsop, Bradley (2015) Efficacy and concern: A new model for political engagement. University of Northampton. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Voting turn-out has been in overall gradual decline in the general UK population since the early 90's, but nowhere is this more pronounced than in young people. This study sought to explore the relationship between political efficacy and political engagement. Political efficacy was broken down into internal (belief in one’s ability to act in the political realm) and external (one’s belief that the political system is amenable to change). A measure of political engagement that incorporates political activities, both formal and informal, was created for the present study, along with a measure of concern over political issues. The focus on this combination of variables redresses aspects neglected in the previous research. A 6 part questionnaire was administered, all parts of which had good internal reliability. Age and perception of ones parent’s political engagement was also incorporated into the analysis. A multiple regression analysis was conducted. Internal political efficacy (Beta= .56 P = <0.01) and age (Beta= .26 ,p= 0.01) were both significantly positively correlated with formal political efficacy, and internal political efficacy (Beta= .35 P = 0.01) and age (Beta= .30 ,p= 0.05) were both significantly correlated with informal political efficacy. Only internal political efficacy was significantly correlated with general political engagement (Beta= .56 P = <0.01). The models used in each case were found to be able to significantly predict all types of engagement. Internal efficacy was found to be a stronger predictor than external political efficacy or concern over issues, and when factor analysis was conducted on internal and external political efficacy scale items 4 clear factors instead of 2 emerged. The wider impact of these findings, possible improvements to the study and lines of future research are discussed.

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