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The “Greenfluence”: Following Environmental Influencers, Parasocial Relationships, and Youth’s Participation Behavior

  • Dekoninck, Heleen; 141059;
  • Schmuck, Desiree; 138865;
Publication Date
Mar 02, 2023
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Environmental influencers have gained immense popularity on social media, promoting a sustainable lifestyle by interweaving environmental topics with their everyday content. Drawing from the theoretical approach of parasocial opinion leaders, we investigate, for the first time, the implications of environmental influencers for different dimensions of youth’s participation behavior, and whether parasocial relationships (PSRs) with influencers moderate these associations. We used data from a cross-sectional (N = 576) and a two-wave panel survey (NT2 = 496) among German 16- to 25-year-olds. Findings across both studies showed that following influencers who address green topics was related to higher engagement in political sphere-oriented participation (e.g. signing a petition) as well as cause-oriented participation (e.g. politically motivated consumerism). In the long term, low to moderate PSR increased the impact of environmental content on cause-oriented participation, while high PSRs seem to overshadow the environmental content directing more attention to relational rather than informational content aspects. / status: Published online

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