Values as sociotropic judgments influencing communication patterns

Jack M. McLeod, Mira Sotirovic, R. Lance Holbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Explanations of why people use various types of media content have been limited mainly to demographic location and self-interested motivational variables. The authors present an alternative, sociotropic source of influence on communication patterns: judgments of how the world works (worldviews), what societal values ought to be pursued (materialism vs. postmaterialism), and what normative roles the news media should play. A well-fitting structural equation model is used to account for substantial amounts of variance in entertainment television viewing, newspaper public affairs reading, and discussion of controversial issues. Sociotropic judgments mediate much of the influence of demographics and ideology on patterns of communication. Diversity in the composition of personal discussion networks has a strong and direct influence on communication patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-485
Number of pages33
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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