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Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

Hanna Bäck


Black and white photo of Hanna Bäck. Photo.

A Social Safety Net? Incentives for sharing political information online


  • Annika Fredén
  • Nils Gustafsson
  • Emma Bäck
  • Hanna Bäck

Summary, in English

This paper explores the relationship between sensitivity to rejection and using social media for political activity. We hypothesize that individuals who are afraid of being rejected behave differently when using social media than the ones who are less sensitive to rejection. We argue that “rejection sensitive” individuals are less likely to share political information in social media, since the recipient is more anonymous than in real-life communication. Starting from theories on social influence on political participation, we elaborate the relationship between age, rejection sensitivity, and political opinion-making. Combining a unique survey on psychological characteristics and political activities with focus groups interviews with Swedish youth lends credence to the central idea. Younger citizens are in general more sensitive to social rejection, and less inclined to influence others politically in social media. On the other hand, younger citizens are more politically active in social media.
This research was financially supported by the Marianne och Marcus Wallenberg Foundation


  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Strategic Communication

Publishing year




Document type

Conference paper


  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
  • Communication Studies


  • social media
  • social network sites
  • political participation
  • political psychology
  • Personality traits

Conference name

SWEPSA Swedish Political Science Association Annual Conference

Conference date

2017-10-04 - 2017-10-06

Conference place

Karlstad, Sweden




  • Political participation among young people – from party democrats to social media activists?