Correlates of Ethiopian University Students‟ Political Attitude: the role of Social Media Use, Family Interaction, and Big Five Personality Traits

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The political attitude of university students‟ was not adequately investigated in the Ethiopian context. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of family interaction, social media usage, and big five personality traits on university students‟ political attitude. Data were collected from 534 randomly selected students from Addis Ababa University, Jimma University and Mizan Tepi University through questionnaire. In addition to quantitative data, focus group discussions were held in two places: Jimma University and Mizan Tepi University main campuses. The reliability and validity of the instruments were found to be acceptable. The factor analysis run for validation of instruments also revealed that majority of the items were valid and usable for the constructs they intended to measure. Measure of relationship, structural equation modeling (SEM) and MANOVA were employed in analyzing quantitative data. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic deductive analysis where themes were identified from reflections of the participants‟ on FGDs. Result revealed that 44% of the variance in political attitude of university students was explained by family interaction, social media use and personality traits jointly. Family interaction alone contributed about 26% followed by social media usage that contributed 23% of the variance in political attitude. Big five traits contributed only 8% of the variance in political attitude. When other variables are controlled, openness trait was found to be the highest predictor of political attitude from big five personality traits. There were statistically significant differences between respondents who have party affiliation and those who do not have with respect to family member interactions (F (1,332) = 8.822, P<.05) and political attitude (F(1, 532)=7.891, P<0.01). Respondents who have party affiliation reported better family member interactions and stronger political attitude. However there was no significant mean difference between male and female respondents with regard to perceived family interactions and social media usage.



family interactions, big five traits, social media usage, political attitude