Media Prescriptions for Goal Achievement: The Differential Effect of Inspiring Versus Humorous Content

Robin L. Nabi*, Stefanie Demetriades, Nathan Walter, Li Qi, Laurent Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This research extends initial work on media prescriptions by offering a first test of a fundamental assumption of the paradigm—that prescribed hope-inducing media are more effective than self-selected media for goal pursuit and achievement. Two longitudinal datasets were collected, one with college students and one with U.S. adults, in which participants were assigned to watch either inspiring or comedic media clips every day for 5 days. Each study also included a condition with an opportunity for self-selected media exposure (social media browsing for students, video choice for the general sample). Findings across both studies indicated that inspiring clips, compared to the other conditions, evoked the most hope. Although no direct effects of message condition on goal pursuit motivation or goal achievement progress were found, evidence for the predicted serial mediation emerged in both studies: exposure to inspiring media generated more hope, which contributed to goal pursuit motivation and, in turn, greater goal achievement progress. This effect was not found for the other media conditions, nor was amusement identified as a significant mediator. Further, evidence in both studies indicated that prescribed media conferred benefit beyond what was experienced by those who self-selected their media experience. Implications for the future of media prescription research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology of Popular Media
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Amusement
  • Comedy
  • Goals
  • Hope
  • Inspiration
  • Media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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