Gender and media: Exploring the relationship between television and adolescent well-being

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Goen, Cambria
Pearson, Jennifer D.
Previous research suggests that media use negatively affects well-being for girls and boys. This study uses secondary data from a nationally representative sample of adolescents (often referred to as Generation X) who were attending school during the 1990s to examine gender differences in body image, school success, alternative time use, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms, and explores whether television consumption has an impact on these outcomes utilizing cultivation theory and social comparison theory. Preliminary analysis revealed that television consumption was not associated with self-esteem for girls, while boys who watched the most television reported the lowest levels of self-esteem. Television consumption was associated with depressive symptoms for both girls and boys, with the adolescents who watched the most television reporting the most frequent depressive symptoms. Overall, the OLS models indicated that television consumption had only a small association with adolescent well-being. Given vast changes in media since the 1990s, future research should consider other types of media (such as music and social networking sites), as well as television content that is accessed from an alternative source.
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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Sociology