Spirituality, Media, and Well-Being

Authored by: Sophie H. Janicke , Arthur A. Raney

The Routledge Handbook of Media Use and Well-Being

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138886582
eBook ISBN: 9781315714752
Adobe ISBN: 9781317501954


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Spirituality is a complex, multidimensional concept, involving distinct and related outlooks on and experiences with sacredness, transcendence, connectedness, and deep truths (e.g., Elkins, Hedstrom, Hughes, Leaf, & Saunders, 1988; Emmons, 2006). Given the positive connotations associated with such outlooks and experiences, it is unsurprising that the relationship between spirituality and well-being has been explored from a variety of perspectives. However, to date, the role that media content and use might play in that relationship has been largely ignored, at least by media psychologists. The goal of this chapter is to explore that role. That is, we aim to examine how media can be used in the pursuit and service of spirituality leading to subjective well-being. To that end, we first operationalize spirituality before situating the term – and the experiences it represents – within the current landscape of empirical media uses and effects scholarship.

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