Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Communication and Information Studies

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Nancy G. Harrington

Abstract

This thesis reports the results of a study designed to investigate the influence of exposure to televised medical dramas on perceptions of medical miracles. Four hundred and eighty-one college students participated in a survey in which they responded to different questions about their medical drama viewership and their different beliefs with regard to medical miracles. Results found that heavy medical drama viewers perceived belief in medical miracles to be less normal than non-viewers. Similarly, heavy viewers perceived medical miracles to occur less often than non-viewers. Interestingly, heavy viewers perceived medical dramas to be less credible than non-viewers. In addition, this study found that personal experience with medical miracles affected responses across all three measured viewership levels. The study concludes that, when compared to no exposure to medical dramas, heavy exposure has the potential for creating a more realistic view of medical miracles. Future research should continue to study genre-specific cultivation effects with regard to health perceptions.

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