Grounded in Media System Dependency theory, this work investigates the impact of new media on political efficacy. It suggests that dependence on online resources affects people’s perceptions about the democratic potential of the Internet. Using structural equation modeling, the study tests the relationship between political attitudes and the perceived utility of the Web. The analysis employs measures that take into consideration the facilitating role of communication technologies. Results indicate that online political efficacy is associated with individual views about the comprehensiveness and credibility of new media. Efficacy is also linked to the perceived ability of online tools to aid the maintenance of ideologically homogenous social networks. The intensity of Internet dependency relations is found to be predicted by the perceived comprehensiveness – but not credibility – of online news.
This study was conducted with support from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. The authors would like to thank Peter Monge, Robert Lunn, and Michael Suman for the valuable feedback provided on early drafts of this work.
Ognyanova, K. and Ball-Rokeach, S.J. (2015), "Political Efficacy on the Internet: A Media System Dependency Approach", Communication and Information Technologies Annual (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 3-27. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2050-206020150000009001Download as .RIS
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