Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Stephen Yoshimura

Commitee Members

Joel Iverson , Laura Dybdal


patient expectations, physician empathy, physician-patient communication, parasocial contact hypothesis, cultivation theory, medical dramas, health communication


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The present investigation applies para-social contact theory to better understand the role of viewing a medical drama on patients’ expectations towards physician’s empathic communication. Results demonstrate that overall, participants form para-social relationships with television characters. Exposure to the stimulus in the current study did not influence participants’ communicative expectations or para-social interaction with characters on the medical drama used. A positive correlation was found between para-social interaction with televised characters and patient expectations. Results are discussed with an emphasis on how Cultivation theory describes the role between exposure to medical dramas and patient expectations, as well as para-social interaction theory.

Included in

Communication Commons



© Copyright 2015 Kayla M. Fadenrecht