Does television viewing cultivate unrealistic expectations about marriage?

Chris Segrin, Robin L. Nabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


One explanation for the high divorce rate in our society focuses on the idealistic expectations with which many people enter into marriage. The media have been cited as the source of or major contributor to these expectations; however, no empirical evidence exists to support that claim. Based on a survey of 285 never-married university students, this study sought to examine the relationship between television viewing, holding idealistic expectations about marriage, and intentions to marry. Results from regression and path analyses indicate that, although overall television viewing has a negative association with idealistic marriage expectations, viewing of romantic genre programming (e.g., romantic comedies, soap operas) was positively associated with idealistic expectations about marriage. Further, a strong and positive association between these expectations and marital intentions was evidenced. These findings are discussed in terms of both cultivation theory and the uses and gratifications perspective of media influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-263
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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