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Mood Adjustment to Social Situations Through Mass Media Use: How Men Ruminate and Women Dissipate Angry Moods

Authors


Corresponding author: Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick; e-mail: Knobloch-Westerwick.1@osu.edu.

Abstract

Mood adjustment goals served to explain gender differences regarding media preferences. Before reacting to antagonism, females are likely to prevent aggression by dissolving aversive states through media consumption, whereas males could preserve aggression by choosing negative content. In a computerized procedure, participants (N = 86) were provoked by supervisor feedback to instigate angry moods. Half of the sample was led to anticipate a retaliation opportunity. In a purportedly separate study, participants were free to choose from online news while software unobtrusively logged their selective news exposure. The articles had been classified as positive or negative news in a pretest. When anticipating a retaliation opportunity, females spent more time reading positive news to dissipate their anger. Males expecting a retaliation opportunity spent more time on negative news to sustain their anger. Males’ generally lower news consumption, especially when anticipating a chance to retaliate, indicated anger rumination through news avoidance altogether.

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