Online Political Engagement, Facebook and Personality Traits | Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung

Ellen Quintelier, Yannis Theocharis
Online Political Engagement, Facebook and Personality Traits

Social Science Computer Review, 2013: 31, issue 3, pp. 280-290
ISSN: 0894-4393 (print); 1552-8286 (online)

Despite the growing literature on the effects of personality traits on political participation, there is little discussion about the potential effects of such traits on the increasingly popular forms of online political engagement. In a changing media environment where social production and exposure becomes central, people with different personality traits may be inclined to engage into forms of participation that are different from those in the offline realm. Using the “Big Five” framework, we test the effect of personality traits on various forms of online and offline political engagement in a sample of undergraduate students. Consistent with long-standing empirical observations in the offline realm, our findings show that the effects of personality traits on online forms of political engagement do not differ. Only openness to experience and extraversion have an effect on online political engagement. For consciousness, agreeableness, and emotional stability only small effects were observed.