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Medical Dramas and Viewer Perception of Health: Testing Cultivation Effects

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Abstract

By using a national representative sample (N = 11,555), the current study tested cultivation theory and aimed at understanding the relationship between medical drama watching and viewer perception and beliefs related to health. Findings suggest that heavy viewers of medical dramas tend to underestimate the gravity of chronic illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease and undermine the importance of tackling these issues. Heavier viewers of medical dramas, compared to lighter viewers, also tend to take a more fatalistic perspective about cancer. Theoretical implications for cultivation theory and practical implications for health policy makers and drama producers are discussed.

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