Self-control depletion and narrative: Testing a prediction of the TEBOTS model

B.K. Johnson, D.R. Ewoldsen, M.D. Slater

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study tests propositions derived from the larger notion that entertainment narratives offer the individual a means by which to alleviate the psychological demands of the self. Specifically, individuals in a state of reduced self-control were expected to experience greater enjoyment, audience response, transportation, and identification during narrative exposure. After a manipulation that depleted self-control resources, participants were exposed to a short story. They then reported their enjoyment and response to the story, as well as their transportation and identification during reading. Results supported the predictions, as enjoyment, audience response, and transportation were significantly greater in the depleted group. Identification showed a nonsignificant difference. Additionally, transportation was found to be a mediator of self-control depletion's effect on enjoyment. Subsequent analyses ruled out alternative mood management and emotion regulation explanations, demonstrating that depleted self-control resources, rather than affect or story valence, accounted for greater narrative engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-220
JournalMedia Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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