Funded by the Wellesley Centers for Women 35th Anniversary Fund and a Robert Wood Johnson New Connections grant, the Media and Identity Study targeted and recruited diverse, hard-to-reach populations of youth across the U.S. using novel recruitment procedures to understand how media shapes the lives of youth nationwide, particularly through online social networking. The mixed-method online study surveyed over 2,300 young people aged 12-25 in 47 states with 34 follow-up interviews. The project examined the role of televised media, social media, and civic engagement in influencing how young people form their racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, sexual orientation, and political identities.
Civic Engagement - Election Survey Findings
The Media and Identity Study also included surveys of adults to better understand their civic engagement. Surveys were completed before and after the 2016 U.S. Presidential election followed by another survey after the 2018 U.S. mid-term elections. The 2016 surveys were completed by over 1,600 people from across the U.S., aged 18-80+, and revealed a number of findings related to gender, culture, and civic engagement. Survey results from the 2016 surveys indicated that "extremely engaged" social media users tended to also be active in political discussions and arenas offline.
The 2018 survey was completed by a total of 731 people. The respondents were:
- 60% female, 37% male, and 3% described as transgender or another gender
- A third were located in the Northeast, 28% were from the South, 26% were from the West, and 13% were located in the Midwest of the U.S.
- 73% were White, 11% were Asian, 6% were Black, 4% were Hispanic, 4% Biracial, and 2% were Native American
- Most completed college or more (72%), 21% completed some college and 7% finished high school.
- 58% reported working full-time, 18% were working part-time, 8% were looking for work, 2% were unable to work, 3% were caregivers, 12% were students, 5% were retired and 2% had another employment status.
Media and Identity Study Team Members share findings and discuss the study:
Media and Identity Study Team Members:
Budnampet Ramanudom (Wellesley College graduate)
Brianna Ruffin (Wellesley College graduate)
Katie Madsen (Wellesley College graduate)
Jalena Keane-Lee (Wellesley College graduate)
Huiying Bernice Chan (Wellesley College graduate)
Temple Price (Wellesley College graduate)
Betsy Ericksen (Wellesley College graduate)
For questions, please email Dr. Linda Charmaraman at MediaIdentityProject[at]wcwonline[dot]org.