Reasons for Political Interest and Apathy among University Students: A Qualitative Study

Article Title: Reasons for Political Interest and Apathy among University Students: A Qualitative Study

Author(s): Ayesha Sarfaraz, Shehla Ahmed, Ayesha Khalid and M. Asir Ajmal

Institute(s): Beaconhouse National University, Lahore Government College University, Lahore; MAO College, Lahore Government College University, Lahore

Journal: Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 2012, Vol. 10, No. 1, 61-67

Correspondence Address: Ayesha Sarfaraz, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore. Email:


The research focused on exploring the various reasons for political interest and apathy among university students in order to understand why some youngsters are interested whereas others are apathetic towards our political system. Purposive sampling strategy was used to select the sample. The sample (N = 16) including men (n = 12) and women (n = 4) consisted of students from various departments of Government College University, Lahore. Age range of the sample was from 18 to 26 years. Focus group technique was used to collect data (indicators and responses). Grounded theory was applied for the purpose of analysis and themes were identified. Results indicated various reasons for political interest and apathy and their ramifications. The analysis revealed that although all participants unanimously agreed that there are flaws in the political system but participants who were interested in politics held an optimistic point of view regarding the situation and believed that through their involvement in politics they can bring about a change. People who were apathetic mostly had a pessimistic point of view and as a result had developed the feelings of learned helplessness and believed that no matter what they do all their efforts will be fruitless. This research serves as a resource for those who have an interest in increasing knowledge in the subject of politics and for those who are attracted to the idea of politics but are repelled by the partisanship and sophistries represented by most of the political establishments without realizing that their alienation would further worsen the situation.

Keywords: political interest, apathy, students, grounded theory

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