Self-perceived use of popular culture media franchises: Does gratification impact multiple exposures?

The current study examines the potential influence of self-socialization uses of media (SSUMs) on individual levels of self-selected exposure to 3 popular media franchises: The Harry Potter Series, The Twilight Saga, and The Hunger Games Trilogy. In contrast to many common media theories focusing on the possible, one-directional influence of media on an individual’s thoughts and behaviors, this study follows the more interactive tenants inherent to the Uses and Gratification Approach and the Media Practice Model. Consistent with study hypotheses, an individual’s level of self-reported exposure to the books and films in each of these franchises—particularly high levels of repeated exposure—was related to the extent to which they perceived that franchise served to gratify at least 1 of the 5 possible SSUMs: Entertainment, Identity Formation, Sensation Seeking, Coping, and Cultural Identification. Although Entertainment was the SSUM most consistently associated with exposure level across the 3 franchises, the other SSUMs also evidenced significant interactions, including different interactions involving rereading the books or rewatching the films within a franchise. These findings not only contribute to ongoing theoretical discussions regarding the interactive nature of media influences but also provide the foundation for future research explicitly exploring the connection between SSUMs of fictional media and real-world experiences of the media consumer, particularly as it relates to issues of Identity Formation and Coping. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)