Disappointment as an effect of curiosity and political apathy: modernation of self-efficacy and mediation of media selection

  • Yining Zhou

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The study adopts Uses and Gratifications (U&G) theory as the framework to test antecedents and consequences in using fanqiang (bypassing Internet censorship) as an alternative medium along with accessible Internet, TV, newspaper and radio as mainstream media in a Chinese context. By online between-group experimentation (N = 132 in the experimental group, N = 127 in the control group), the study shows that curiosity about forbidden political content and political apathy predict fanqiang and most accessible media use tendencies. Moderation effects exist between curiosity and self-efficacy in predicting fanqiang tendencies. Disappointment as an emotional effect is directly related to curiosity and political apathy, where the mediation effects of media use tendencies are not salient. Explicit Internet censorship increases curiosity about forbidden political content and decreases the dimension of lack of interest in political apathy. However, it does not change accessible media use tendencies and disappointment levels. Still, participants show fewer of fanqiang tendencies than with accessible media, except radio. The results highlight the cognitive roots of motivations and emotional constructs as a part of gratification in U&G research, that self-efficacy as a necessary requirement for curiosity to drive media use, and that information attributes can change motivations. We urge future scholars to build broader explications of political apathy when applied to different societies, to try diverse methods like experimentation in U&G research, and to adopt a sociopsychological approach when studying the influences and effectiveness of Internet censorship.

Date of Award6 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSteve Z S GUO (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Disappointment
  • Curiosity
  • Self-efficacy
  • Internet
  • Censorship
  • Political aspects
  • Mass media
  • Social aspects
  • Psychological aspects

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