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Social engagement (also social involvement, social participation) refers to one's degree of participation in a community or society.


The term "social engagement" is commonly used to refer to one's participation in the activities of a social group.[1] The term has also been defined as "the extent to which an individual participates in a broad range of social roles and relationships."[2] and as "the commitment of a member to stay in the group and interact with other members".[3]

The term has not always been used consistently in literature, and can be sometimes confused with several other similar (but distinct) concepts from social sciences.[1] Social engagement is different from the concept of a social network, as social network focuses on a group, rather than the activity.[1] Social engagement also differs from social capital, with the latter defined as "resources available to individuals and groups through their social connections to communities".[1] Civic engagement is also different, as it refers to political activity, and to membership and volunteering in civil society organizations.[1]


Social engagement can be evidenced by participation in collective activities, which reinforces social capital and social norms.[3] Key elements of social engagement include activity (doing something), interaction (at least two people need to be involved in this activity), social exchange (the activity involves giving or receiving something from others), and lack of compulsion (there is no outside force forcing an individual to engage in the activity).[1] For the most part, social engagement excludes activities for which one is getting paid, or family obligations.[1]

A common metric of social engagement is the quantifiable volume of activity.[3] A traditional form of social engagement, such as church going, may be measured by the number of one's visits to the church. In the Internet setting, a metric of social engagement on a discussion board may take the form of the number of posts made.[3]

One of the main questions about social engagement explored by social scientists has been whether individuals are more or less engaged with various communities.[3] Some studies have suggested that modern information and communication technologies have made it easier for individuals to become socially engaged in more distant or virtual communities, and thus have decreased their involvement in local communities.[3][4]

Promotion of positive behavior in, and opportunities for, social engagement also serve as key goals in the field of positive youth development.[5]


High social engagement may improve happiness[6] and health and well-being;[7] however, context is important.[2] High social engagement in deviant, delinquent activities such as membership in a criminal organization can be detrimental to one's health, as can be being too involved (having too many social roles), which can lead to stress due to conflicts between roles.[2]

Covid-19 added a complication to social engagement which relies on face-to-face interactions to compliment social media engagement when it comes to Social Grouping[clarification needed]. "Children are among the social groups most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because they have found themselves forced to stay at home, far from their schoolmates, their friends, and far from all the activities they used to do before the pandemic."[8]

Social engagement and inclusion

Poverty can greatly impact one’s social participation. Engagement in social activities can be impacted by an individual’s employment or the lack of it.[citation needed]

Social inclusion is critical to ensure that the needs of disadvantaged social groups such as indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, older persons, youth, and women, are considered.

Socially engaged theater

Socially engaged theater is performance work that comments on or raises awareness about social issues around race, gender, disability, sexuality, and equality. The audience is invited to participate in aspects of the performance.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Thomas R. Prohaska; Lynda A. Anderson; Robert H. Binstock (5 April 2012). Public Health for an Aging Society. JHU Press. pp. 249–252. ISBN 978-1-4214-0535-3. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b c William R. Avison; Jane D. McLeod; Bernice A. Pescosolido (8 January 2007). Mental Health, Social Mirror. Springer. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-387-36319-6. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Zhang, S., Jiang, H., & Carroll, J. M. (2011). Integrating online and offline community through Facebook. 2011 International Conference on Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), 569-578. doi:10.1109/CTS.2011.5928738 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-02. Retrieved 2012-09-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Putnam, Robert D. (2000). Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon & Schuster.
  5. ^ Almquist, Patricia; Brekke, Barbara; Croymans, Sara R.; Fruechte, Kari; Matlack, Mary; McAndrews, Betty; Morreim, Patricia; Ogg-Graybill, Jolie; Piehl, Barbara; Walker, Joyce; Zurcher, Tom (1999). "Keys to Quality Youth Development". University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  6. ^ Keith G. Banting; Andrew Sharpe; France St-Hilaire (6 January 2001). The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress, 2001. IRPP. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-88645-190-5. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  7. ^ Laura L. Carstensen; Christine R. Hartel (28 February 2006). When I'm 64. National Academies Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-309-10064-9. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
  8. ^ Elsayed, Walaa (December 2021). "Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on increasing the risks of children's addiction to electronic games from a social work perspective". Heliyon. 7 (12): e08503. Bibcode:2021Heliy...708503E. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e08503. ISSN 2405-8440. PMC 8632740. PMID 34869925.
  9. ^