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‘I guess I do have to take back what I said before, about television’: pregnant women's understandings and use of televisual representations of childbearing

Bessett, Danielle ; Murawsky, Stef

Sociology of Health & Illness, 2018-03, Vol.40 (3), p.478-493 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    ‘I guess I do have to take back what I said before, about television’: pregnant women's understandings and use of televisual representations of childbearing
  • Author: Bessett, Danielle ; Murawsky, Stef
  • Subjects: birth ; media ; television ; pregnancy ; Pregnancy ; New York ; Parturition - psychology ; Television ; Attitude to Health ; Humans ; Connecticut ; Female ; Interviews as Topic ; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice ; Socioeconomic Factors ; Pregnant women ; Usage
  • Is Part Of: Sociology of Health & Illness, 2018-03, Vol.40 (3), p.478-493
  • Description: Research on television as a source of childbearing information is divided on its importance. Drawing from a sample of 64 pregnant women in the greater New York and Connecticut metropolitan area, we examine how women understand the influence of television on their expectations for pregnancy and birth. A sizable minority (44%) regularly watched reality television programmes on childbearing; all engaged in active viewing practices, such as recognising programme formula and evaluating plausibility of depictions. We find clear educational differences in how viewers believed television influenced their pregnancy knowledge: women with higher levels of education generally disavowed all television as an information source, but used reality programming to educate their children about pregnancy and for entertainment. Women who had lower educational attainment were more likely to include reality programmes as part of their comprehensive approach to information gathering. Only one woman asserted that fictional television was a good source of pregnancy information. Although many devalued television, women referenced television programmes and imagery as they described their expectations and concerns for pregnancy. A large proportion of respondents were unaware of the influence television exerted on them. Health scholars must better engage with the complexities of media use.
  • Publisher: England: Wiley Subscription Services, Inc
  • Language: English
  • Identifier: ISSN: 0141-9889
    EISSN: 1467-9566
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-9566.12658
    PMID: 29274085

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