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The Handbook of Lifespan Communication


Jon F. Nussbaum

The Handbook of Lifespan Communication is the foundational scholarly text that offers readers a state of the art view of the varied and rich areas of lifespan communication research. The fundamental assumptions of lifespan communication are that the very nature of human communication is developmental, and, to truly understand communication, change across time must be incorporated into existing theory and research. Beginning with chapters on lifespan communication theory and methodologies, chapters are then organized into the various phases of life: early childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, middle adulthood, and older adulthood. Top scholars across several disciplines have contributed to chapters within their domains of expertise, highlighting significant horizons that will guide researchers for years to come.
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Chapter Eighteen: Media Use and Effects in Older Adulthood





The A. C. Nielsen Company reports that nearly 97% of all homes in the United States have incorporated at least one television set into the décor (as cited in the U.S. Census, 2010). Nearly 85% of these homes had two or more sets, 55% had three or more sets, and 33% had four or more TV sets. Of these 114.7 million, 91% receive TV programming over a cable, 31% subscribe to a premium channel, and 33% have a digital video recorder. And television viewing remains the number one leisure activity in the U.S. with the average adult spending about 34 hours per week watching TV (as cited in the U.S. Census, 2010).

Surprisingly, Nielsen estimates that the number of homes with a TV set has actually dropped 2.2% over the past 20 years (as cited in “Ownership of TV Sets,” 2011). This decrease has been attributed to the advent of the Internet, a declining economy, and media convergence (as cited in “Ownership of TV Sets,” 2011). Increasingly adults are using the Internet and alternative delivery media systems such as HULU or Apple TV to access movies and TV programming. In fact, Pew (2009) suggests 35% of all U.S. homes have used the Internet or alternative delivery services such as HULU to watch movies or TV programming. This change has encouraged Nielsen to include Internet viewers in their definition of “TV household” (as cited...

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