The Role of Media System Development in the Emergence of Postmaterialist Values and Environmental Concern: A Cross-National Analysis*

  • Ahern L
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Important theories related to the social development of environmental
concern and attitudes ascribe different roles to the media. Inglehart's
materialist�postmaterialist value shift thesis sees the development
of a more advance media system as promoting pro-environmental values.
Gerbner's cultivation theory, on the other hand, sees the media as
promoting consumerist tendencies, which run counter to environmental
concern. This study examines the effect of media system development
on postmaterialist values and environmental concern at the national
and individual levels. Controlling for other factors known to impact
the emergence of environmental concern, the overall effect of media
system development is largely negative. However, this result should
be considered in light of interactions within and among other key
variables. Hierarchical linear modeling is employed to examine the
impact of media system development on environmental concern considering
individual- and country-level predictors. Results indicate media
system development uniquely explains a small but significant amount
of variation in individual-level environmental concern. Findings
are discussed in the theoretical context of country-level predictors
of environmental concern.

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  • Lee Ahern

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