Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication

Document Type

Access to Dissertation Restricted to LSU Campus


In the digitally networked society, social media easily expose individuals to information related to conflicting social issues and allow them to distribute their ideas by creating and sharing content. Accordingly, people have opportunities to be engaged in contentious issues through social media and participate in offline activities. The purpose of this study was to propose an integrative model of activism to understand how individuals in the networked society are engaged in social media and offline activism on contentious issues. In doing so, this study presents an integrative model of activism incorporating the Situational Theory of Problem Solving (STOPS), hostile media perception, affective injustice, and social media efficacy. An online survey of 649 respondents examined how the integrative model of activism predict social media activism and offline activism on three issues of gun ownership, immigration, and police use of power. Significant results were found. First, this study showed a positive relationship between perceptual variables and situational motivation for each of the three issues. Second, situational motivation was a positive predictor for social media activism and offline activism. Third, affective injustice was positively associated with social media activism and offline activism. Fourth, social media efficacy was a significant and positive predictor for activism in the social media. Fifth, there was a strong relationship between social media activism and offline activism. Finally, structural equation modeling (SEM) indicated that the indirect effect (situational motivation ¨ social media activism ¨ offline activism) is stronger than the direct effect (situational motivation ¨ offline activism), meaning that social media activism is a positive and critical mediator that increases offline activism. The results of this study provide insights for public relations practitioners that the integrative model of activism contributes to theory building in activism research by extending STOPS in the context of social media. In addition, this study conceptualized communicative action of people in the social media as social media activism to better understand the collective action of people on contentious issues in the social media environment. This study also emphasized the practical utility of the model for issues management.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.

Committee Chair

Park, Hyojung