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Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Kenneth D. Day

First Committee Member

Alan Ray

Second Committee Member

Qingwen Dong

Abstract

Reality dating shows like "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," "Average Joe," "For Love or Money" and "Joe Millionaire" have recently attracted a growing number of viewers in the United States. As these reality dating shows pry into the most intimate corners of the lives of ordinary people, they have many people questioning their impact on society. However, there has not been extensive research on this subject. The purpose of the study was to examine the extent that exposure to reality television dating shows have on the cultivation of attitudes and perceptions of interpersonal relationships among college students in the United States. Exposure to reality television dating shows as measured by days viewed in an average week was found to be correlated with the acceptance of dysfunctional relationship beliefs. However, the effect of exposure was found to depend on the amount of perceived realism with the effect stronger for those who evaluated the shows as realistic. These results are more supportive of cognitive-functional theory, rather than cultivation theory. No effects of exposure were found on acceptance of unrealistic relational beliefs.

Pages

52

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