Political Scandals as a Democratic Challenge| The Aftermath of Political Scandals: A Meta-Analysis

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This article represents the first attempt to examine the effects of political scandals via meta-analysis. Seventy-eight studies, collectively including more than 54,000 participants, were identified and examined. A quantitative analysis revealed that the number of studies has steadily increased. Research predominantly stems from North America and Europe, and more than two-thirds of studies are based on student samples. Publication outlets are mostly political science and psychology journals, whereas communication journals play only a minor role. A qualitative analysis shows that two central outcome variables are frequently studied (evaluation of politicians/electoral consequences). Overall, studies generally reveal negative evaluative effects for politicians. However, five central moderators (candidate characteristics, behaviors, prior attitudes, context, and scandal type) significantly influence scandal effects. It is also apparent that research has largely neglected to precisely conceptualize the major independent variable in scandal-effects studies: news coverage and its intensity. Central research gaps are identified, and avenues for future research are discussed.


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