Business, College of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Business, Under the Supervision of Professor James W. Gentry. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright 2012, Elise J. Johansen


Children are exposed to over 25,000 advertisements each year just on television. Research has demonstrated advertising’s effect on children’s preferences and perceptions including gender roles. With the changing structure of family now including diverse family types such as same-sex parents, childfree couples, single-persons, and transracial adoptive families, we do not yet know if advertising is changing with the times and how children perceive these family groups. This study seeks to determine how children perceive family in advertising and its effect on their concept of family through a content analysis of children’s television advertisements and data collection from children in the Midwest. While family is not a prevalent theme within children’s advertising, is it present. Images may suggest a nontraditional household, but no concrete clues substantiate the suggestion. Age was found to be a significant predictor of identifying nontraditional groups as families, but gender influenced affect to a greater extent.

Advisor: James W. Gentry

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