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Title:Extending and Refining an Expectancy-Value Theory of Media Gratifications: Two Studies in the Domain of Soap Opera Watching
Author(s):Babrow, Austin Scott
Department / Program:Speech Communication
Discipline:Speech Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mass Communications
Abstract:Arising out of dissatisfaction with stimulus-response or "effects research," intensive study of audience members has emerged as a significant trend in the past twenty-five years of mass communication research. The study of audience uses and gratifications has been the most visible exemplar of this new orientation. At base, uses and gratifications research supposes that audience orientations determine exposure experiences including effects. Despite the intuitive force of this supposition, gratification research has yet to offer a parsimonious account of audience orientations and their relation to exposure. Present formulations are poor in explanatory power and riddled with inconsistencies. For example, despite a recent flurry of research activity, present understanding of the reasons for exposure to soap operas remains "almost wholly in the realm of speculation and prejudice" (Cantor & Pingree, 1983, p.127).
Researchers have begun to argue that a more satisfying view of the determinants of exposure can be obtained by infusing the uses and gratifications perspective with expectancy-value theory: a general psychological theory holding that behavior is determined by expected consequences weighted by their value to the actor. This dissertation examines various forms for the merger of uses and gratification and expectancy-value accounts. A first study surveys college students' perceptions of soap operas and finds that standard uses and gratifications and expectancy-value procedures yield nearly identical information. A second study examines the structure among perceived gratifications/consequences, attitude, perceived norms, intention, and students' exposure to soap operas. It finds that perceived immediate pleasures of viewing are highly tied to the social context of exposure; these perceptions, along with concerns about missing other activities and distortions of reality, combine to determine attitudes toward exposure; perceived outcomes, attitude toward exposure, and respondent self-concept are codeterminants of intentions to watch soap operas; intentions are the sole immediate psychological determinant of amount of soap opera exposure.
In sum, a structure specifying the determinants of student exposure to soap operas is offered, a more general expectance-value structure is suggested for investigations in other domains, and several directions for future work are discussed, including work on self-concept, further work on the social psychology of group viewing, and improvements in measurement procedures.
Issue Date:1986
Description:401 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1986.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8623257
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-05-13
Date Deposited:1986

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