Media influence on identity formation and social competence: Does music video impact adolescent development?

Blake Te'Neil Lloyd, University of Pennsylvania


Current literature regarding music video television reports that adolescents watch music video simply to be entertained. The limited focus of the literature on stereotypes, deviant behaviors, and negative images in videos must be balanced by empirical investigations that examine the cognitive processes that occur when adolescents watch music videos. Although entertainment may clearly be hypothesized as one possible layer of why adolescents watch music videos, mass communication theory, adolescent developmental theory, and ecological systems theory clearly provide additional, developmentally plausible explanations. This study examined the medium of music video and the adolescent in the context of the relevant social processes and the salient psychological task of adolescent development—identity formation. The study extended the literature by quantitatively assessing three potential domains of adolescent music video processing: social competence, negative identity, and entertainment only. The hypothesis was that adolescents who watched music videos were more likely to recognize and relate to the socially competent behaviors demonstrated in the music videos than to the negative images or entertainment only value of the videos. The study also investigated the utility of a new measure for assessing adolescent processing of music video, called the Music Video Influence Measure (M-VIM). An ethnically-diverse sample of 495 high school students from three public school systems participated in this study. Additional information about adolescent social competence was gathered from both the adolescents and their teachers using the Social Skills Rating System, and compared with information derived from the M-VIM. Results from both student and teacher data supported the construct and concurrent validity of the M-VIM. Specifically, factor analysis yielded a two-factor solution, Proactive Social Schema and Reactive Social Schema. Canonical analyses revealed significant relationships between these M-VIM factors and both teacher and student assessments of social competence on the social skills subscales of the SSRS. Lastly, examination of age and gender differences revealed that male students and ninth grade students received significantly higher scores for Reactive Social Schema (factor two of the M-VIM). In contrast, females and twelfth grade students scored significantly higher on Proactive Social Schema (factor 1 of the M-VIM). Implications for adolescent developmental theory and future research were discussed.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Mass media

Recommended Citation

Lloyd, Blake Te'Neil, "Media influence on identity formation and social competence: Does music video impact adolescent development?" (2000). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9965521.