Self-control and need satisfaction in primetime: Television, social media, and friends can enhance regulatory resources via perceived autonomy and competence

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Abstract

The relationship between self-control and media use is complicated. Loss of self-control capacity has been linked to generally higher levels of media use, which might represent self-regulatory failure, but could also be attempts at replenishing self-control. Indeed, self-determination theory proposes that satisfying intrinsic psychological needs (autonomy, competence, and relatedness), for example via media use, aids the recovery of self-control. In this 2-wave survey (N = 395), we examined the interplay of users’ self-control capacity and their perceived satisfaction of autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs via media use and alternative leisure activities. Satisfaction of intrinsic needs during leisure activities increased self-control capacity at the end of the evening. Feelings of autonomy and competence during TV and social media use, and competence during socializing, positively contributed to greater self-control. However, respondents with less self-control capacity before primetime experienced less intrinsic need satisfaction while engaged with TV, social media, reading, sports, and socializing, diminishing self-control at bedtime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Popular Media Culture
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2020

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