A Social Safety Net? Incentives for sharing political information online

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


This paper explores the relationship between sensitivity to rejection and using social media for political activity. We hypothesize that individuals who are afraid of being rejected behave differently when using social media than the ones who are less sensitive to rejection. We argue that “rejection sensitive” individuals are less likely to share political information in social media, since the recipient is more anonymous than in real-life communication. Starting from theories on social influence on political participation, we elaborate the relationship between age, rejection sensitivity, and political opinion-making. Combining a unique survey on psychological characteristics and political activities with focus groups interviews with Swedish youth lends credence to the central idea. Younger citizens are in general more sensitive to social rejection, and less inclined to influence others politically in social media. On the other hand, younger citizens are more politically active in social media.
This research was financially supported by the Marianne och Marcus Wallenberg Foundation
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 5
EventSWEPSA Swedish Political Science Association Annual Conference - Karlstad university, Karlstad, Sweden
Duration: 2017 Oct 42017 Oct 6


ConferenceSWEPSA Swedish Political Science Association Annual Conference
Internet address

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • Communication Studies

Free keywords

  • social media
  • social network sites
  • political participation
  • political psychology
  • Personality traits


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