Linking Adolescents’ Exposure to and Identification With Reality TV to Materialism, Narcissism, and Entitlement

Suzanna J. Opree*, Rinaldo Kühne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


According to previous research, there is a cross-sectional link between adolescents’ reality TV viewing on the one hand, and their level of materialism, narcissism, and entitlement on the other hand. The current study was set out to determine whether there is a longitudinal link, and whether the effect of reality TV viewing could potentially be attributed to adolescents’ identification with reality TV cast members. A twowave panel study was conducted among 392 adolescents. Importantly, the cross-sectional patterns from previous research could be replicated, but they did not stand the test of time: Reality TV viewing in Wave 1 was longitudinally related with materialism and identification, but not with narcissism and entitlement in Wave 2. Notably, the longitudinal relation between reality TV viewing on adolescents’ materialism disappeared once adolescents’ identification was controlled for. This demonstrates the importance of viewer experiences in assessing media effects. The difference in findings between materialism and entitlement and narcissism were explained by theorizing that reality TV mainly portrays negative consequences of entitled and narcissistic behavior, causing viewers to refrain from copying this behavior. Future research could test this hypothesis and investigate how consequences of certain behaviors are portrayed in reality TV and how these consequences are perceived by reality TV viewers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-458
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Popular Media
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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