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The current study examined the associations between television and movie use, romantic ideals (belief in love conquers all and soul mates), and relationship satisfaction amongst adults who were currently in romantic relationships. Participants were 306 individuals aged 18 to 64. They were asked about their media use, their romantic beliefs, and their current relationship. In addition to overall time spent watching television and movies, seven specific genres were measured. Results indicated that viewing each genre of television and movie analyzed (including relationship reality TV, TV drama, TV comedy, soap opera, and romantic movie) was positively associated with romantic ideals. The results for television were not in the hypothesized direction or consistent with prior studies. Television drama and romantic movie viewing were the strongest predictors of belief in love conquers all and relationship satisfaction whereas soap opera viewing was the strongest predictor of belief in soul mates. None of these associations were moderated by age or relationship length. Additionally, mediation analyses showed that specific genres of viewing were positively associated with relationship satisfaction via romantic ideals. The implications of viewing television and movies for adults’ romantic relationships are discussed.

Publication Date



Taylor & Francis


mass communication, relationships, romantic ideals


Suggested citation: Kretz, V. E. (2019). Television and movie viewing predict adults’ romantic ideals and relationship satisfaction. Communication Studies, 70(2), 208-234. doi:10.1080/10510974.2019.1595692

Television and Movie Viewing Predict Adults’ Romantic Ideals and Relationship Satisfaction