Exploring Social Norms as a Group-Level Phenomenon: Do Political Participation Norms Exist and Influence Political Participation on College Campuses?

Academic Article


  • This research explores the relationship between campus political norms and student political participation. This study conceptualizes norms as a group-level construct by collecting data at several universities (k = 32 universities, n = 1,389 students) where norms vary without campaign intervention. Multilevel modeling reveals that perceptions of political norms converge within universities. Further, frequency of political communication at the group- and individual-level explains increases in normative perceptions. This increase is meaningful because norms at the group level were predictive of political behaviors at the individual level. This research documents the existence of political norms beyond the individual level of analysis and highlights the important role of political norms, political communication, and social context in understanding political participation. © 2012 International Communication Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Shulman HC; Levine TR
  • Start Page

  • 532
  • End Page

  • 552
  • Volume

  • 62
  • Issue

  • 3