Empirical support for the media participation hypothesis: Trends across presidential elections, 1992–2012

Erik P. Bucy, Jacob Groshek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study empirically examines the media participation hypothesis advanced by Bucy, analyzing the influence of traditional and participatory media use across six US presidential elections. Multivariate analyses of American National Elections Study data demonstrate that as participatory media become more prevalent and utilized in an electoral system, corresponding and statistically significant increases in political system efficacy—the perception of governmental responsiveness—can be observed among the heaviest users of participatory media. Enhanced engagement with interactive media in combination with traditional media also translates into more positive assessments of democratic processes than use of traditional media alone. At the same time, increased engagement with participatory media shows a weak and negative association with political trust. Findings for the study uphold the basic tenets of the hypothesis, suggesting the framework provides a useful lens for understanding the tightening relationship between citizenship, use of communication technology, and democratic processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1889-1909
Number of pages21
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Interactive media
  • media participation
  • perceived governmental responsiveness
  • political interactivity
  • political system efficacy
  • political trust


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