Do Disagreeable Political Discussion Networks Undermine Attitude Strength?

Joshua Robison*, Thomas J. Leeper, James N. Druckman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


How attitudes change and affect behavior depends, in large part, on their strength. Strong attitudes are more resistant to persuasion and are more likely to produce attitude-consistent behavior. But what influences attitude strength? In this article, we explore a widely discussed, but rarely investigated, factor: an individual's political discussion network. What prior work exists offers a somewhat mixed picture, finding sometimes that disagreeable networks weaken attitudes and other times that they strengthen attitudes. We use a novel national representative dataset to explore the relationship between disagreeable networks and attitude strength. We find, perhaps surprisingly, no evidence that disagreements in networks affect political attitude strength. We conclude by discussing likely reasons for our findings, which, in turn, provide a research agenda for the study of networks and attitude strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-494
Number of pages16
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • attitude formation
  • attitude strength
  • networks
  • political discussion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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