The Participatory Roots of Selective Exposure: Baby Boomers, Political Protest, and Talk Radio

David A. Weaver


Much political communication research examines the effects of media on political attitudes and behavior. But what of the contributions of political behavior toward selective exposure? This study draws on literature from selective exposure and political socialization to explore whether one’s likelihood of engaging in selective exposure may originate in part during the “crystallization period” of young adulthood. After controlling for demographic and political variables in adolescence and midadulthood, an analysis of data from a four-wave longitudinal panel of “baby boomers” from 1965 to 1997 indicates that selective exposure can be traced to political protest activity during this time and, very marginally, in subsequent years. The implications for the future of selective exposure among emerging generations are discussed.


selective exposure, political protest, political socialization, talk radiosocialization, talk radio

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