Cultural Differences in Media and Well-Being

Authored by: Jinhee Kim

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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Numerous individual-difference variables have been identified as predictors or moderators that influence possible beneficial and harmful effects from consuming media messages (Bryant & Oliver, 2009; Bryant & Vorderer, 2006). That may include demographic variables, enduring personality traits, or transient affective states. However, one crucial factor has been largely neglected in extant literature: differences in cultural background. Unlike intercultural communication tradition (Kim, 2002), there has been little discussion regarding possible theoretical frameworks that may guide cross-cultural media research. Only a limited body of research has addressed the dominance of Western values in the world from the perspectives of cultivation (Van den Bulck, 2012) or cultural imperialism (Tomlinson, 1991). Despite the lack of cross-cultural media research, in this chapter, prior studies will be introduced that have explored cultural differences in several types of media consumption, along with popular theoretical frameworks to explain the differences. Given the sparse research that has attended to issues of well-being specifically, the current chapter attempts to provide plausible theoretical grounds to make predictions of cultural differences regarding the association between media message consumption and subjective well-being, and make suggestions for future research that can generate further studies.

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