European TV Environments and citizens' social trust: Evidence from Multilevel Analyses : Communications uses cookies, tags, and tracking settings to store information that help give you the very best browsing experience.
To understand more about cookies, tags, and tracking, see our Privacy Statement
I accept all cookies for the De Gruyter Online site

Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation


The European Journal of Communication Research

Founded by Silbermann, Alphons

Ed. by Krotz, Friedrich

IMPACT FACTOR 2014: 0.297
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.730

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2014: 0.522
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2014: 0.484
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2014: 0.492



30,00 € / $42.00 / £23.00

Get Access to Full Text

European TV Environments and citizens' social trust: Evidence from Multilevel Analyses

Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck1 / Ansgar Wolsing2

1Professor for Political Sciences, University of Mannheim, Germany. E-Mail:

2Research Manager Analytics & Operations at nurago GmbH, Hannover, Germany. E-Mail:

Citation Information: Communications. Volume 35, Issue 4, Pages 461–483, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: 10.1515/comm.2010.024, November 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


This paper sheds new light on Putnam's hypothesis that watching television, particularly entertainment programs, contributes to an erosion of social trust. Previous studies have been unable to reach convincing evidence regarding this claim. It is argued that this is a consequence of the neglect of indirect, interpersonally mediated TV effects which supplement the influence of direct exposure, and extend even to those who do not watch television. Using data from the 2002 and 2004 waves of the European Social Survey (ESS) in combination with aggregate data from telemetric audience research, we conduct a multilevel analysis of TV's impact on social trust. Investigating this macro-micro relationship, we find that patterns of general TV use in 25 European societies exert substantial effects on individual social trust that by far exceed those of individual TV use. In line with Putnam's hypothesis, there is a negative impact of total TV time; however, high market shares of public TV increase social trust.

Keywords:: Television effects; social trust; public television; international comparison; multilevel analysis

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Laura Jacobs, Ellen Claes, and Marc Hooghe
Mass Communication and Society, 2015, Volume 18, Number 4, Page 498

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.