Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Travis R. Bell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janelle Applequist, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Page Werder, Ph.D.


Cultivation theory, Health communication, Health information seeking, Television


This study investigated the influence of medical dramas on perceptions of patient self- advocacy. With a purposeful sample of college students, the study explored perceptions of information seeking preferences of a medical drama patient. With a quasi-experimental design using an online questionnaire containing both qualitative and quantitative measures, the study was able to compare four unique variables to perceptions of the information seeking preferences of a medical drama patient. The study analyzed the influence that (1) medical drama exposure, (2) patient advocacy rating, (3) perceived realism of medical dramas, and (4) previous experience healthcare each had on college students’ perceptions of the assertiveness of the medical drama patient. While the study did not yield statistically significant results it helps to inform cultivation theory by considering perceptions of patient self-advocacy and how they may influence medical drama viewers’ health beliefs and behaviors. Future suggestions about scales to measure patient self-advocacy and perceptions of medical drama patients’ health preferences are discussed.