The study, just released electronically and soon to be published in the September 2012 issue of Mass Communication and Society,
found that the more an individual believed in television portrayals of
romance, the less likely they were to be committed to their
relationships. In August 2012, several of the most-watched television
shows (Burn Notice, True Blood, The Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men)
featured romantic relationships prominently throughout their episodes.
This research is especially important at helping individuals understand
the impact that television viewing can have on their relationships.
“In this study I found that people who believe the unrealistic
portrayals on TV are actually less committed to their spouses and think
their alternatives to their spouse are relatively attractive,” Dr.
Jeremy Osborn, the article’s author said. “My hope would be that people
would read this article and take a look at their own relationships and
the relationships of those around them. How realistic are your
expectations for your partner and where did those expectations come
Over 390 married couples participated in the study. The participants
responded to questions about their satisfaction with their current
romantic relationship, relationship expectations, relationship
commitment, belief in television portrayals of romantic relationships,
viewing frequency, and several others that focused on their spousal
I find this very interesting for a variety of reason.
Number One: Prior to meeting my husband, I published four romance novels. Since meeting him, I haven't published any. I moved on to murder mysteries, soap opera tie-ins, non-fiction and family sagas. My husband claims it's because, after meeting him, I learned that true romance was nothing like what I'd read about in books or seen on TV. He's right. I wrote all about it in Romantic Heroes, Post Marriage. (And if you think he comes off as awesome there, read this.)
And Number Two: I am a soap watcher. Since the age of 10. Pretty much everything I learned about relationships at a young, impressionable age, I learned from daytime dramas. (In related news, my husband says he learned everything one needs to know about charming women from AMC's Tad Martin.)
Since a majority of my readers are soap fans, as well, I have to ask: What do you think of the study's conclusions? Have TV romantic relationships affected your real-life ones?