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Environmental Concern, Patterns of Television Viewing, and Pro-Environmental Behaviors
Unformatted Document Text:  TV-Environment 17 variables to better understand multiple media roles while placing these influences in their proper context (e.g., McLeod, Kosicki, & McLeod, 2002). This study was also able to identify several important influences of public affairs and nature documentary use as mediators. The positive influence of age on pro-environmental behaviors was enhanced as a result of the two positive indirect effects that work through the factual-based forms of television use. In contrast, the indirect effects of sex and race run counter to their direct effects on pro-environmental behaviors, presenting a far more complex picture surrounding the true role of various forms of television use on the criterion variable. Environmental concern had a large positive direct effect with the criterion variable, but the total positive effect of this attitudinal variable is even large as a result of the indirect effects that run through public affairs and nature documentary television use. These important mediating relationships for the factual-based forms of television use serve to enhance our understanding of the relationship between television and the environment. The approach taken in this work on the environment is applicable to analyses of a host of other relationships between television use and various socio-political attitudes/behaviors. Previous work in this same line of research has focused on issues concerning women’s rights (Authors, in press), and we argue that future research should focus on a number of other policy areas as well. Some of these areas could include crime, race, and gay rights (to name just a few). It is important that different types of television use be focused upon relative to attitudes and behaviors surrounding these issues, and that we not only focus on the direct effects of television viewing but the role of television use as a potential mediator as well. We intend to expand the approach used in this study to these other areas and encourage other scholars to do the same. It is important that we outline the limitations of this study. First, we must acknowledge some general weaknesses in the measures used in this secondary analysis. The television use measures employed for this study are dichotomous, and the effects of these variables are likely suppressed due to the weaknesses of this type of measurement (Cohen & Cohen, 1983). There must also be recognition of the skewed sample of programs used to form the situation comedy use index. Several recent reports have shown there to be a severe racial segregation of the prime-time television audience, and this is especially true for situation comedies (Mfume, 2001). Based on these reports, our situation comedy index would appeal to a largely Caucasian audience. Also, our measure of environmental concern consists of a single item. This complex concept deserves to be better explicated, resulting in a stronger, multiple-item index to be used in future studies. The generalizability of our

Authors: Holbert, R. Lance., Kwak, Nojin. and Shah, Dhavan.
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TV-Environment 17
variables to better understand multiple media roles while placing these influences in their proper context (e.g.,
McLeod, Kosicki, & McLeod, 2002).
This study was also able to identify several important influences of public affairs and nature documentary
use as mediators. The positive influence of age on pro-environmental behaviors was enhanced as a result of the two
positive indirect effects that work through the factual-based forms of television use. In contrast, the indirect effects
of sex and race run counter to their direct effects on pro-environmental behaviors, presenting a far more complex
picture surrounding the true role of various forms of television use on the criterion variable. Environmental concern
had a large positive direct effect with the criterion variable, but the total positive effect of this attitudinal variable is
even large as a result of the indirect effects that run through public affairs and nature documentary television use.
These important mediating relationships for the factual-based forms of television use serve to enhance our
understanding of the relationship between television and the environment.
The approach taken in this work on the environment is applicable to analyses of a host of other
relationships between television use and various socio-political attitudes/behaviors. Previous work in this same line
of research has focused on issues concerning women’s rights (Authors, in press), and we argue that future research
should focus on a number of other policy areas as well. Some of these areas could include crime, race, and gay
rights (to name just a few). It is important that different types of television use be focused upon relative to attitudes
and behaviors surrounding these issues, and that we not only focus on the direct effects of television viewing but the
role of television use as a potential mediator as well. We intend to expand the approach used in this study to these
other areas and encourage other scholars to do the same.
It is important that we outline the limitations of this study. First, we must acknowledge some general
weaknesses in the measures used in this secondary analysis. The television use measures employed for this study
are dichotomous, and the effects of these variables are likely suppressed due to the weaknesses of this type of
measurement (Cohen & Cohen, 1983). There must also be recognition of the skewed sample of programs used to
form the situation comedy use index. Several recent reports have shown there to be a severe racial segregation of
the prime-time television audience, and this is especially true for situation comedies (Mfume, 2001). Based on these
reports, our situation comedy index would appeal to a largely Caucasian audience.
Also, our measure of environmental concern consists of a single item. This complex concept deserves to be
better explicated, resulting in a stronger, multiple-item index to be used in future studies. The generalizability of our


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