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ERIC Number: ED424607
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-23
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Making Sense of the American Family: Audience Constructions of Social Realities through Television and Interpersonal Relationships.
Paterno, David J.
A study addressed two issues: the degree to which television accurately reflects, lags behind, or exaggerates the presentation of divorce; and whether or not a cultivation effect influences estimates about divorce rates among couples. A questionnaire was designed for administration to participants, 175 undergraduate students in an introductory communication course at a Carnegie Foundation Research II University. Morgan and Shanahan (1995) have found that college-aged adults have the most robust cultivation effects across 20 years of analysis, and additionally, undergraduate students watch a great deal of television. Data supported the hypothesis that an identifiable pattern of families on television existed; moreover, the presentation of families on television overestimated rates of divorce and also of widowed parenthood. Measurable cultivation did not occur in this sample of students; programming did not seem to lead or be related to estimates of the kinds of families these students felt were found in reality. Instead of abandoning cultivation, the study of television could be broadened to include what people actually do when they sit in front of a TV screen. Studying the process of watching television may be useful in accounting for how viewers construct information environments within interpersonal relations. (Appendixes contain a sample survey, a typology of marriage and family life on prime time television, and statistical data; a 21-item reference list is also attached.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A