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Deliberation or Small Talk? Motivations for Public Discussion and their Effects on Civic Engagement
Unformatted Document Text:  Motivations for Public Discussion the impact of demographics, news media use, network size and motivations for discussion. These results support H3 and H4. <INSERT TABLE 4> Another noteworthy finding from Table 4 relates to the links between different motivations for discussing public affairs and individuals’ civic engagement. As shown in the column for Step 4, both civic ( = .125, β p < .10) and social ( = .174, β p < .01) motivations for discussion were positively associated with civic participation, although the relationship between civic goals and engagement fell short of achieving significance. However, once interpersonal and online discussions were entered into the model, the contribution of motivations became insignificant. This result suggests that discussion frequency may mediate the effects of both sets of goals on civic engagement. Nevertheless, to formally address H5 and RQ3, we estimated the theorized structural model illustrated in Figure 1. The Mplus estimates of the structural relationships among motivations for discussion, frequency of interpersonal and online discussions and civic participation are shown in Figure 2. Overall, this model fitted the data extremely well, yielding a chi-square value of 0.280 with 2 degrees of freedom (p = .87, RMSEA = .000, CFI = 1.000, TLI = 1.000, SRMR = .008). The variables included in this model accounted for 21% of the variance in interpersonal discussion, 14% in online discussion, and 14% in civic engagement. <INSERT FIGURE 2> The relationships observed in Figure 2 support the view that both civic and social goals contribute to citizens’ expressive behavior online and offline, which in turn encourages civic engagement. Specifically, individual differences in motivations were positively associated with interpersonal discussion (β = .360, p < .001 for civic motivations; β = .349, p < .001 for social 14

Authors: Valenzuela, Sebastian., Jeong, Sun Ho. and Gil de Zuniga, Homero.
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Motivations for Public Discussion
the impact of demographics, news media use, network size and motivations for discussion. These 
results support H3 and H4.
<INSERT TABLE 4>
Another noteworthy finding from Table 4 relates to the links between different motivations 
for discussing public affairs and individuals’ civic engagement. As shown in the column for Step 
4, both civic (  = .125, 
β
p < .10) and social (  = .174, 
β
p < .01) motivations for discussion were 
positively associated with civic participation, although the relationship between civic goals and 
engagement fell short of achieving significance. However, once interpersonal and online 
discussions were entered into the model, the contribution of motivations became insignificant. 
This result suggests that discussion frequency may mediate the effects of both sets of goals on 
civic engagement. Nevertheless, to formally address H5 and RQ3, we estimated the theorized 
structural model illustrated in Figure 1.
The Mplus estimates of the structural relationships among motivations for discussion, 
frequency of interpersonal and online discussions and civic participation are shown in Figure 2. 
Overall, this model fitted the data extremely well, yielding a chi-square value of 0.280 with 2 
degrees of freedom (p = .87, RMSEA = .000, CFI = 1.000, TLI = 1.000, SRMR = .008). The 
variables included in this model accounted for 21% of the variance in interpersonal discussion, 
14% in online discussion, and 14% in civic engagement.
<INSERT FIGURE 2>
The relationships observed in Figure 2 support the view that both civic and social goals 
contribute to citizens’ expressive behavior online and offline, which in turn encourages civic 
engagement. Specifically, individual differences in motivations were positively associated with 
interpersonal discussion (β = .360, p < .001 for civic motivations; β = .349, p < .001 for social 
14


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