A Historical Overview of Uses and Gratifications Theory

Weiyan LIU


This paper is a part of the thesis: A Study on Chinese IPTV audience. In this study, on the basis of uses and gratifications theory, starting from IPTV audience demand, the author endeavors to explore how variables affect audience satisfaction and put forward feasible suggestions so as to improve IPTV audience satisfaction.
Some mass communications scholars have contended that the uses and gratifications are not a rigorous social science theory. In this article, I argue just the opposite, and any attempt to speculate on the future direction of mass communication theory must seriously include the uses and gratifications approach. And, I assert that the emergence of computer-mediated communication has revived the significance of uses and gratifications.
Theoretically and practically, for U&G scholars, however, the basic questions remain the same. Why do people become involved in one particular type of mediated communication or another, and what gratifications do they receive from it? Although we are likely to continue using traditional tools and typologies to answer these questions, we must also be prepared to expand our current theoretical models of U&G to include concepts such as interactivity, demassification, hypertextuality, asynchroneity, and interpersonal aspects of mediated communication.


Uses and gratifications; Computer-mediated communication; Interpersonal

Full Text:



Abrams, J. R., & Howard, G. (2007). Ethnic identity gratifications selection and avoidance by African Americans: A group vitality and social identity gratifications perspective. Media Psychology , 9(1), 115-134.

Armstrong, C. B., & Rubin, A. M. (1989). Talk radio as interpersonal communication. Journal of Communication, 39(2), 84-94.

Baym, N. K. (1998): The emergence of on-linecommunity. In S. G. Jones (Ed.), Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-meditated Communication and Community (pp.35-68). Sage, Thousand Oaks.

Blumler, J. G. (1979). The role of theory in uses and gratifications studies. Communication Research, 6, 9-36.

Bryant, J., & Zillman, D. (1984). Using television to alleviate boredom and stress. Journal of Broadcasting, 28, 1-20.

Chamberlain, M. A. (1994). New technologies in health communication. American Behavioral Scientist, 38, 271-284.

Chigona, W., Kankwenda, G., & Manjoo, S. (2008). The uses and gratifications of mobile Internet among the South African students (pp. 2197-2207). Management of Engineering & Technology, 2008. PICMET 2008. Portland International Conference on.

Ehrenberg, A. S. C., & Wakshlag, J. (1987). The liking and viewing of regular TV series. Journal of Consumer Research, 14(1) 63-70

Elliott, P. (1974). Uses and gratifications research: A critique and a sociological alternative. In J. G. Blumler & E. Katz (Eds.), The uses of mass communications: Current perspectives on gratifications research (pp. 249-268).

Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, and behavior. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Galloway, J. J., & Meek, F. L. (1981). Audience uses and gratifications: An expectancy model. Communication Research, 8, 435-449.

Geiger, S., & Newhagen, J. (1993). Revealing the black box: Information processing and media effects. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 42-50.

Ha, L., & James, E. L. (1998). Interactivity reexamined: A baseline analysis of early business Web sites. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 42, 457-474.

Haridakis, P., & Hanson, G. (2009). Social interaction and co-viewing with YouTube: Blending mass communication reception and social connection. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 53(2), 317-335.

Heeter, C., & Greenberg, B. (1985). Cable and program choice. In D. Zillman & J. Bryant (Eds.), Selective exposure to communication (pp. 203-224).

James, M. L., Wotring, C. E., & Forrest, E. J. (1995). An exploratory study of the perceived benefits of electronic bulletin board use and their impact on other communication activities. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 39(1), 30-50.

Kargaonkar, P. K., & Wolin, L. D. (1999). A multivariate analysis of web usage. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(4), 878-886.

Katz, E., Blumler, J., & Gurevitch, M. (1974). Utilization of mass communication by the individual. In J. Blumler & E. Katz (Eds.), The uses of mass communication: Current perspectives on gratifications research (pp.19-34).

Katz, E., Blumer, J. G., & Gurevitch, M. (1974). “Utilization of Mass Communication bythe Individual”, in the uses of mass communications: Current perspectives onGratifications research. In Sage Annual Reviews of Communication Research (Volume III, eds.).

Katz, E. (1960). The two-step flow of communication. In W. Schramm (Ed.), Mass communications (pp.346-365). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Katz, E., Gurevitch, M., & Haas, H. (1973). On the use of the mass media for important things. American Sociological Review, 38, 164-181.

Klapper, J. T. (1960). The effects of mass communication. New York: Free Press.

Kuehn, S. A. (1994). Computer-mediated communication in instructional settings: A research agenda. Communication Education, 43, 171-182.

Lemish, D. (1985). Soap opera viewing in college: A naturalistic inquiry. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 29, 275-293.

Levy, M. R., & Windahl, S. (1984). Audience activity and gratifications: A conceptual clarification and exploration. Communication Research, 11, 51-78.

Liu, I. L. B., Cheung, C. M. K., & Lee, M. K. O. (2010). Understanding Twitter usage: What drive people continue to tweet. Retrieved June 9, 2011, from http://www.pacis-net.org/file/2010/S21-04.pdf

Lowery, S., & DeFleur, M. L. (1983). Milestones in mass communication research. New York: Longman.

McIlwraith, R. D. (1998). “I’m addicted to television”: The personality, imagination, and TV watching patterns of self-identified TV addicts. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 42, 371-386.

McLeod, J. M., Bybee, C. R., & Durall, J. A. (1982): On evaluating news media performance. Political Communication, 10, 16-22.

McLeod, J. M., & Becker, L. (1981). The uses and gratifications approach. In D. Nimmo & K. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of political communication (pp.67-100).

McQuail, D. (1994). The rise of media of mass communication. In D. McQuail (Ed.), Mass communication theory: An introduction (pp.1-29).

McQuail, D., Blumler, J., & Brown, J. (1972): The television audience: A revised perspective. In D. McQuail (Ed.), Sociology of mass communications (pp.135-165).

Mendes-Filho, L., & Tan, F. B. (2009). User-generated content and consumer empowerment in the travel industry: A uses and gratifications and dual-process conceptualization. Retrieved June 9, 2011, from http://www.pacis-net.org/file/2009/%5B64%5DUSER-GENERATED%20CONTENT%20AND%20CONSUMER%20EMPOWERMENT%20IN%20THE%20TRAVEL%20INDUSTRY_%20A%20USES%20&%20GRATIFICATIO.pdf

Palmgreen, P., & Rayburn, J. D., II. (1982). Gratifications sought and media exposure: An expectancy value model. Communication Research, 9, 561-580.

Palmgreen, P., & Rayburn, J. D., II. (1979). Uses and gratifications and exposure to public television. Communication Research, 6, 155-180.

Palmgreen, P., & Rayburn, J. D., II. (1985). A comparison of gratification models of media satisfaction. Communication Monographs, 52, 334-346.

Palmgreen, P. (1984). Uses and gratifications: A theoretical perspective. In R. Bostrom (Ed.). Communication Yearbook, 8, 20-55.

Papacharissi, Z. (2002). The self online: The utility of personal home pages. Retrieved June 9, 2011, from http://tigger.uic.edu/~zizi/Site/Research_files/SelfOnline.pdf

Papacharissi, Z., & Mendelson, A. L. (2007). An Exploratory Study of Reality Appeal: Uses and Gratifications of Reality TV Shows. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 51(2), 355-370

Perse, E. M., & Dunn, D. G. (1998). The utility of home computers and media use: Implications of multimedia and connectivity. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 42, 435-456.

Quan-Haase, A. (2012). Technology and society: Social networks, work, and inequality. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press,.

Rayburn, J. D. (1996). Uses and gratifications. In M. B. Salwen & D. W. Stacks (Eds.), An integrated approach to communication theory and research (pp.97-119).

Rayburn, J. D., & Palmgreen, P. (1984). Merging uses and gratifications and expectancy-value theory. Communication Research, 11, 537-562.

Rosengren, K. E., Johnsson-Smaragdi, U., & Sonesson, I. (1994). For better and for worse: Effects studies and beyond. In K. E. Rosengren (Ed.), Media effects and beyond: Culture, socialization and lifestyles (pp.302-315).

Rosengren, K. E. (1974). Uses and gratifications: A paradigm outlined. In J. G. Blumler & E. Katz (Eds.), The uses of mass communications: Current perspectives on gratifications research (pp.269-286).

Roy, S. K. (2009). Internet uses and gratifications: A survey in the Indian context. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(4), 878-886.

Rubin, A. M. (1983). Television uses and gratifications: The interactions of viewing patterns and motivations. Journal of Broadcasting, 27, 37-51.

Rubin, A. M. (1986). Uses, gratifications, and media effects research. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (Eds.), Perspectives on media effects (pp.281-301). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Rubin, A. M., & Windahl, S. (1986). The uses and dependency model of mass communication. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 3, 184-199.

Rubin, A. M. (1984). Ritualized and instrumental television viewing. Journal of Communication, 34(3), 67-77.

Rubin, A. M. (1994a). Audience activity and media use. Communication Monographs, 60, 98-105.

Rubin, A. M. (1981). An examination of television viewing motivations. Communication Research, 8, 141-165.

Ruggiero, T. E. (2000). Uses and gratifications theory in the 21st century. Mass Communication and Society, 3(1), 30-37.

Shin, D. H. (2009). Virtual gratifications of wireless Internet: Is wireless portable Internet reinforced by unrealized gratifications? Telematics and Informatics, 26(1), 44-56.

Singer, J. B. (1998). Online journalists: Foundations for research into their changing roles. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 4. Retrieved May 1999 from the World Wide Web: http://jcmc.huji.ac.il/vol4/issue1/smith.html#ABSTRACT

Stafford, T. F., Stafford, M. R., & Schkade, L. L. (2004). Determining uses and gratifications for the Internet. Decision Sciences, 35(2), 259-288. Retrieved July 2, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global.

Wenner, L. A. (1985). The nature of news gratification. In K. E. Rosengren, L. A. Wenner, & P. Palmgreen (Eds.), Media gratifications research: Current perspectives (pp.171-194). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

Williams, F., Rice, R. E., & Rogers, E. M. (1988). Research methods and the new media. New York: Free Press.

Wimmer, R. D., & Dominick, J. R. (1994). Mass media research: An introduction. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Windahl, S. (1981). Uses and gratifications at the crossroads. Mass Communication Review Yearbook, 2, 174-185.

Windahl, S., Hojerback, I., & Hedinsson, E. (1986). Adolescents without television: A study in media deprivation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 30, 47-63.

Zillman, D., & Bryant, J. (1985). Selective exposure to communication. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Zillman, D. (1980). The anatomy of suspense. In P. H. Tannenbaum (Ed.), The entertainment functions of television (pp.133-163). Hillsdale, NJ: LEA.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/%25x


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Weiyan LIU

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Share us to:   


  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Online Submission: http://cscanada.org/index.php/ccc/submission/wizard

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.
  • We only use four mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; office@cscanada.net; ccc@cscanada.net; ccc@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Cross-Cultural Communication are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1055 Rue Lucien-L'Allier, Unit #772, Montreal, QC H3G 3C4, Canada.
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net; Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mail:caooc@hotmail.com; office@cscanada.net

Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture