Entering Politics: General Self-Efficacy and Voting Behavior Among Young People



Political science traditionally conceptualizes efficacy only in relation to politics and government. In this article, we look beyond political efficacy and examine the effect of general self-efficacy on young adults' voting behavior. General self-efficacy, an individual's estimation of capacity to operate successfully across a variety of domains, is often important to the behavioral decisions of individuals entering a new domain of activity. With data from the Children of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth, we examine the effect of general self-efficacy on voting behavior among young, first-time voters. We find that general self-efficacy has a positive effect on voter turnout, and this effect is strongest for young people from low socioeconomic-status families.