Visiting Scholar Finds Media Use Linked to Well-Being

Posted on: October 7, 2013

leonard-2Media use, either be it through playing video games or watching a movie, helps take the edge off of the daily stress of life, which also leads to vitality, according to CAS visiting scholar Leonard Reinecke.

Reinecke is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. He presented his research findings during a colloquium, titled "Media Use and Well-Being? Linking the Use of Entertaining Media to Recovery Experience and Vitality," on Monday, Oct. 7, in the CAS building.

Daily activities, such as work chores and stressful events, place constant demands on us, both mentally and physically. Yet, Reinecke says, recovery does not occur automatically in the absence of these demands. His research explores several "routes" leading from media use to psychological health and well-being.

In his presentation, Reinecke defined recovery and the four dimensions of the recovery experience:

  1. Psychological detachment
  2. Mastery experience
  3. Relaxation
  4. Control

His research examines whether these four dimensions could be elicited by media use through playing video games and watching movies. The research results support the idea that video games and movies elicit all four of these recovery dimensions and that they can play an important role in the recovery experience and foster psychological well-being.

Questions still to be answered that Reinecke would like to explore further include how media-induced recovery really works with regard to the micro-level processes that link certain types of media content to specific recovery effects? What variables moderate the relationship between media use and recovery? How does recovery and selective exposure interact? What audiences are best served through media-induced recovery and when are audiences best served?

Reinecke, who holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Hamburg, came to MSU in 2009 as a doctoral student to work with Ron Tamborini, Professor and Director of Doctoral Programs in the Communication department. Reinecke is back as a visiting scholar to continue his research with Tamborini.

Reinecke will be on campus through the end of this week so make sure you take time to introduce yourself while he is still here!

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