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This article reports the findings from a national survey of self-transcendent (or inspiring) media audience members in the United States. Exposure to self-transcendent content is socially significant because, theoretically, it can orient users towards matters beyond themselves, ultimately promoting connections with others and altruistic behaviors. However, to date, little is known about the daily audiences for such fare. Four primary questions guided the investigation: (1) What are the media sources and contents identified as “inspiring” by the audience?, (2) Who makes up the current U.S. audience for self-transcendent media content?, (3) What personality traits and viewer characteristics are associated with self-transcendent media consumption?, and (4) What prosocial and altruistic behaviors are associated with self-transcendent media consumption? To address these questions, a nationally representative survey (n = 3,006) was conducted. The findings are discussed in relation to the growing body of scholarship on positive media psychology.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Mass Communication and Society, volume 21, issue 3, in 2018, available online at DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2017.1413195. It may differ slightly from the final version of record.


Taylor & Francis

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