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10 Ways TV Has Changed American Culture


5
Hurts Your Marriage
A study found that depictions of TV relationships could affect how you view your marriage. Abel Mitja Varela/E+/Getty Images
A study found that depictions of TV relationships could affect how you view your marriage. Abel Mitja Varela/E+/Getty Images

Do you like to kick back in front of the TV after a long day? It turns out that your television habit could be affecting your marital relationship.

A September 2012 study published in the journal Mass Communication found that depictions of TV relationships could affect how you view your marriage. People who frequently watched shows like "Mad Men," or "Two and a Half Men" which showed people having affairs and moving from partner to good-looking partner, and who believed TV reflected reality, tended to be less committed to their marriages [sources: Science Daily, Rosenlof].

Ostroff talked about this during our interview, and he said it's clear that TV and other forms of media give us pictures of what reality should be like. We do know that adults as well as kids take cues and learn behaviors from what they see in television. "It's the ability to differentiate what we see on TV from what we see around us and which we believe that determines how much television impacts our perceptions," he said.

That paper in Mass Communication jibes with Ostroff's take. The survey looked at more than 390 people in long-term married relationships, and the researchers found that people who bought into TV depictions of marriage were not only less committed to their relationships overall but also believed that they gave up more to be in their relationship and that their partners had more negative qualities.


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