Campus Location

Abilene Campus

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Communication

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair

Dr. Cindy Roper

Second Committee Member

Dr. Carley Dodd

Third Committee Member

Dr. Suzie Macaluso

Abstract

Institutions of higher education are constantly trying to learn more about their own student population. Whether this means a student’s academic performance, social life, personality traits, or political involvement it is important to study the lives of university students so as to better understand and serve that population. Specifically, studying the relationship between communication and political participation among college students is important for those working in higher education, researching voting behaviors, and for the general public. Students in Greek Letter Societies (GLS), also known as fraternities/sororities or social clubs, are a perfect population to study the effects of communication on political participation. Many of the political, as well as cultural and business, leaders in the U.S. culture were at one time members of a GLS, and perhaps there is a link between participation in a GLS and political participation. Using theories of Social Capital, Political Participation, and Interaction Involvement, this research studies the effects of communication on political participation. 497 university students participated in a survey and a correlation between political participation and interaction involvement was found. However, there was no relationship found between participation in a GLS and political participation. The results of this research suggest that participation in a GLS does not make one more likely to participate in political activities, but a higher level of interaction involvement does correlate with higher levels of political participation.

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