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Comunicar Journal 74: Education for digital citizenship: Algorithms, automation and communication (Vol. 31 - 2023)

Political empowerment among young voters: Social media, partisanship and the moderating role of political interest


Rehan Tariq

Fakhta Zeib


Despite recent efforts to examine the political outcomes of social media use, little is known about the reinforcement of political empowerment and moderating effect of political interest. It is vital to understand the elements that influence the level of political empowerment. Therefore, this paper used a sample of Pakistani voters (n=410) aged 18-29 to offer insight into how social media use alongside other political behaviors, such as partisanship, political expression, and political interest, affect political empowerment. Social Identity Theory (SIT) and rational choice theory provided the theoretical underpinning for the variables of this study. The statistical analyses were performed using Partial Least Squares (PLS) to assess the effects of four variables i.e., social media use, political partisanship, political expression, and political interest, on political empowerment. This study made a significant contribution to the research literature by combining SIT and rational choice theory in one framework. This study also expands the literature on political interest by introducing political interest as a moderator between the inconsistent relationship of political expression and political empowerment. Our results demonstrated that partisanship and social media use positively influenced political expression among young voters. Moreover, political interest positively moderated the relationship between political expression and political empowerment.


Young voters, political empowerment, social media, partisanship, political interest, political expression

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