Developing Self-Actualizing and Dutiful Citizens: Testing the AC-DC Model Using Panel Data Among Adolescents

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


One of the major issues facing contemporary democracies is how the rapidly changing media environment influences democratic citizenship. Rather than strengthening or weakening citizenship per se, the present study analyzes whether traditional news and interactive online media encourage different forms of civic and political engagement among adolescents. More specifically, we use three waves of annually gathered panel data to study Swedish adolescents’ development of self-actualizing (AC) and dutiful (DC) citizen qualities. Overall, the analyses lend support for the AC-DC model, and suggest that communicative practices matter. While traditional news media use is related to DC qualities—such as institutional participation, political trust, and external efficacy—interactive online media use promotes AC qualities, including both online and offline cause-oriented activism.


  • Adam Shehata
  • Mats Ekström
  • Tobias Olsson
External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Media and Communications


  • AC-DC, citizenship, digital media, new media, participation, engagement
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1169
Number of pages29
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch