Romantic partner ideals and dysfunctional relationship beliefs cultivated through popular media messages: Implications for relationship satisfaction
Two studies explored the associations between media consumption, partner/relationship ideals and beliefs, and relationship satisfaction. Study 1 assessed participants' total television consumption as well as total romance/relationship-oriented and total erotic media consumption. Total television consumption (regardless of content) showed little evidence of cultivating effects on relationship beliefs. However, the more romance/relationship-oriented media participants consumed, the more idealized their partner/relationship ideals, the stronger their belief that mind-reading is expected in a relationship, that disagreement in a relationship is destructive, and that fate brings soul-mates together. For men, a negative relationship between erotic media consumption and relationship satisfaction was mediated by their perception of a discrepancy between their ideal and actual partner/relationship. Study 2 used an experimental design to explore the temporary effects of viewing a popular film that strongly emphasizes the idea that destiny determines relationships. Compared to participants exposed to the control film, those exposed to the manipulation endorsed significantly stronger beliefs in relationship destiny directly after viewing. These findings are an important first step in showing how media messages influence people's relationship attitudes but will need to be replicated and extended.
0708: Mass media