Accession Number : ADA299917

Title :   A Multidimensional Approach to Distinguishing between the Most and Least Politically Engaged Senior Citizens, Using Socialization and Participation Variables.

Descriptive Note : Master's thesis,

Corporate Author : AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH

Personal Author(s) : Miles, Anne D.

PDF Url : ADA299917

Report Date : 29 AUG 1995

Pagination or Media Count : 362

Abstract : This study is based upon a paradox: while large numbers of seniors enjoy sufficient personal resources to become highly politically engaged if they choose to, few of these potential activists do more than vote. This study tests the impact of a wide assortment of variables to better understand why this is so. Variables include the "usual suspects" from political participation literature (i.e. partisanship) and more unusual suspects drawn from socialization, prosocial behavior, and political communication research. Data, collected by the author, is based on 319 completed surveys from three subsamples of seniors: 120 suburban, 99 small town, 100 Gray Panthers. The term "political engagement" encompasses three distinct dimensions of participation -- voting, activity beyond voting, and attention to politics. Findings suggesting that important predictors vary by dimension support this decision. Findings also suggest that continuity explains much of the paradox. Seniors maintain levels of activity established much earlier. Change ends to be in the direction of increased activity as long as those activities are passive. Factoring continuity into participation models greatly enhances their explanatory power. Findings support the life cycle theory of political socialization. The best socialization predictors are variables associated with parent-child communication, political role modeling, paternal power, and the area in which the individual was raised. Their predictive power varies by dimension.

Descriptors :   *POLITICAL SCIENCE, *COMMUNITY RELATIONS, *SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, EDUCATION, SOCIAL COMMUNICATION, ATTITUDES(PSYCHOLOGY), STATISTICAL DATA, DEMOGRAPHY, AGING(PHYSIOLOGY), THESES, POPULATION, CORRELATION, SURVEYS, BEHAVIOR, PERCEPTION(PSYCHOLOGY), PERSONALITY, FAMILIES(HUMAN), URBAN AREAS, INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS, RURAL AREAS, SOCIAL SECURITY.

Subject Categories : Government and Political Science
      Sociology and Law
      Psychology

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE