Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Kim, Young

Second Advisor

Tusinski Berg, Kati

Third Advisor

Chattopadhyay, Sumana


Viewed as an unconventional approach to politics, political consumerism is a rising form of political action that allows citizens to make political statements with their wallets. However, more research is warranted examining its motivating factors, as well as its connection to other forms of political activity. The family unit is the primary antecedent examined in this study, as it is regarded as one of the most important socializing agents for children, especially when it comes to political development. Conducting a national survey of 523 U.S. adults, the present study explored how one’s family communication environment during childhood affects their likelihood of engaging in political consumerism during adulthood, and in turn, how that influences their involvement in offline and online political activity. Through multiple regression analysis, the results showed that both the conversation and conformity orientations are positively associated with boycotting and buycotting. Path analysis further revealed the mediating role of political consumption on the relationship between family communication and political activity. Overall, this study expands the understanding of family communication patterns theory and suggests that political consumers are involved in various forms of political activity. The results further point to the growing trend of “dual participation,” whereby citizens combine offline and online political activities.

Included in

Communication Commons