The Tie that Binds

Reflecting on Emotion’s Role in the Relationship between Media Use and Subjective Well-Being

Authored by: Robin L. Nabi , Abby Prestin

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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Subjective well-being, or how positively people emotionally experience and cognitively evaluate their lives (Diener, 1984), is undoubtedly a desirable end-state in itself, but it is also associated with other enviable and important life outcomes, such as better health and longevity (Diener & Chan, 2011). There are many sources that contribute to one’s sense of well-being, including personality and temperament, life experiences (especially recent ones), social relationships, and resources to pursue valued goals (Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999). Interestingly, though the media plays an increasingly prominent role in people’s lives, its influence on audiences’ subjective well-being is woefully understudied. Given that the media, in its many forms, has a remarkable capacity to evoke emotions, and given that the balance of one’s emotions contributes significantly to subjective well-being, this chapter explores the mediating role of emotion in the media exposure–subjective well-being relationship.

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