Exploring the Paradox of the Enjoyment of Sad Films

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The concept of met emotions (appraisals of emotional reactions) was used in three studies designed to explore the enjoyment of sad films and to develop a scale that would reflect such gratifications. Study 1 showed that sad reactions in response to this type of entertainment were positively related to enjoyment and that females reported stronger reactions both in terms of enjoyment and in terms of sad responses than males. The Sad‐Film Scale (SFS) developed in Study 1 was positively associated with measures of empathy, femininity, and positive appraisals of sad emotions. Study 2 found evidence of the scale's reliability and validity. Study 3 demonstrated predictive validity of the SFS in terms of the enjoyment of a specific sad film and in terms of favorable ratings of met emotions reported directly after viewing a sad film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-342
Number of pages28
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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