Interpersonal Discussions and Attitude Formation on Foreign Policy: the Case of Polish Involvement in the Iraq War


  • Author's notes: I thank Seden Akcinaroglu, Brian Gaines, and three reviewers for helpful comments. I am grateful to the European Union Center and the Graduate College at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and to the Survey Research Lab at the University of Illinois, Chicago, for funding this research.


This paper examines Polish support for the country's participation in the Iraq war in 2004. I argue that interpersonal discussions are a driving force behind emergent attitudes on foreign policy, such as support or opposition to war. I identify three mechanisms through which political discussions can influence individual's views on the war and develop hypotheses about the impact of kinship ties and frequency of discussions on strengthening the influence. I test my argument using the first large-N data on interpersonal discussions and foreign policy outside of the US context. Findings demonstrate that having a pro-war conversation partner greatly increases the probability that one will adopt similar views. They also show that when one's social environment is taken into account as the source of information about the policy, the impact of mass media diminishes.