Revisiting Cultivation as a Gravitational Process: A Cross-National Comparison of the Cultivation of Fear and Mistrust

Matea Mustafaj, Jan Van den Bulck


Communication scholars have found varying levels of support for cultivation theory in the United States and abroad. Using a multilevel modeling approach and data from 27 countries (N > 51,000) from the fifth round of the European Social Survey, we found that the country in which a study is conducted explains a significant amount of the variance in violence-related outcome variables as well as in their relationship with television viewing. We further demonstrate how one cross-national contextual variable (welfare state regime) moderates cultivation relationships. For some of our outcomes, the relationships vary predictably across these groupings in a manner that strongly suggests mainstreaming. We propose that a macro-level approach would provide valuable insight into the complexities of cultivation theory.


cultivation, mainstreaming, multilevel modeling, television, fear, European Social Survey

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