Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mass Communication

Document Type



The changes to our socio-technological media environment over the past 30 years have heightened the interest in identity across the social sciences. The spread of networked digital communication technologies and mobile media have increased the urgency for media scholars to better understand how and why individuals consume media as they do. Several media choice scholars have recently started considering how individuals’ identity and self-concept relate to media choice, but have not yet systematically addressed how identity might be related. This dissertation takes the first steps toward advancing an identity-based approach to understanding individual media choice in the 21st century by: 1) Providing a thorough theoretical and conceptual review of identity theory (Burke & Stets, 2009) and the identity process; 2) By discussing media research in the context of identity theory and applying identity theory directly to media research, and; 3) By empirically testing multiple elements of identity theory in two original experimental designs. Results indicate that identity not only affects media choice, it also affects how individuals ascribe meaning to media content.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Goidel, Robert Kirby