Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


Religious Media Use And Audience's Knowledge, Attitude, And Behavior: The Roles Of Faith Motivation, Program Appeals, And Dual Information Processing

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Media and Communication

First Advisor

Louisa Ha

Second Advisor

Lance Massey (Committee Chair)

Third Advisor

Gi Woong Yun (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Sung-Yeon Park (Committee Member)


The effect of religious media is a controversial topic of debates among religious media practitioners, theologians, and ministers in religious communities because they differently understood the roles of religious media on audience members' religious practice. Based on the uses and gratification perspective, this dissertation investigated how audience members' motivation to deepen their faith via religious media affects their religious knowledge, religious attitude, and religious behavioral intention. This study examined (a) how religious media affect religious audience members, (b) how the effect differs in a various demographic and religious audience groups, such as education, income, the duration of audience members' religious experience, their activeness in practicing their faith, and their motivation to deepen their faith, and (c) how the employment of the central vs. peripheral information processing strategies influences the outcomes of religious media use. This study proposed that the relationship between the faith motivation and the outcomes of religious drama exposure will be mediated by the employment of the information processing strategy in the elaboration likelihood model (ELM).

A three-phase pre-test and post-test field experiment was conducted to trace the changes in participants' religious knowledge, religious attitudes, and religious behavioral intention. Participants watched one hour-long manipulated rational or emotional religious drama in their parishes. In data analysis, participants were divided into novice Catholics and experienced Catholics, passive Catholics and active Catholics, and Catholics with low faith motivation and those with high faith motivation to test the premises of the uses and gratification and the ELM.

The results show that religious drama is an effective format in religious programming in audience members' religious knowledge increase, their religious attitude reinforcement, and their religious behavioral intention changes. Some demographic variables, such as education and household income, affect the outcome variables. The three faith related variables, (a) the duration of practicing faith, (b) audience members' activeness in practicing faith, and (c) their motivation to deepen their faith via religious media, interact with one another and directly affect audience members' religious knowledge, attitude, and behavioral intention. Therefore, the moderating model explains the effects of religious drama exposure better than the mediating model. Theoretical and practical implication of this research is discussed.