Media consumption and educational outcomes: Media is another form of cultural capital
Adolescent media use has been considered an important factor in shaping educational outcomes. In order to help adolescents succeed academically, it is important to understand how they utilize their time. The purpose of this study is to examine the culturally cultivated habits of adolescents in relation to academic outcomes. I argue that the relationship between media use and academics can be better understood when considering how adolescents develop their cultural habits. Using Pierre Bourdieu's theory of cultural capital to frame my analysis, I utilize secondary data from the Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS) for analysis. Overall, media use was associated with test scores, though the associations were not very strong. Visual media was negatively associated with test scores while leisurely reading was positively associated. Socioeconomic status, or SES, was shown to be the strongest predictor of math and reading scores; however, in my OLS models, the strength of SES declined when media use, student activities, and attitudes were accounted for. Moreover, the negative impact of consuming visual media is greater for higher SES students. Conversely, the positive impact of leisurely reading is larger for higher SES students. In conclusion, media is a cultural behavior and cultivated habits can affect educational outcomes.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Sociology