The Journal Reality Bites : An Investigation Of The Genre Of Reality Television

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While reading the journal Reality Bites: An Investigation of the Genre of Reality Television and Its Relationship to Viewers’ Body Image researchers utilized a unique methodological approach, this study investigated subtypes of reality television (RTV) to study the influence of exposure to RTV on body image (body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness) as compared a more traditional weekly report of RTV viewing. Young adults (N ¼ 472) completed online surveys measuring their exposure to Reality TV and perceptions of their own body image. Four types of RTV were uncovered. Regression analyses using these 4 factors demonstrated that exposure to competition-based RTV shows (e.g., Dancing with the Stars) predicted increased body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. On the other hand, the weekly self-report of RTV viewing did not reveal any relationships between weekly exposure to RTV and body image. These findings underline the need for cultivation-based media studies that include program-based measures of genre-specific media exposure, especially when seeking to capture media effects related to RTV. In the study before researchers can understand the impact of reality programs on viewers, they must agree on how to define exposure to this genre. This would be defining the purpose of the study. The purpose of this study was to explore the conceptualization of RTV through the use of a program-centered method of determining distinct subtypes of this emerging genre. The RTV
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