Influence of Disney Films on Family and Romantic Relationships

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Eric Landrum


Disney films have the potential to effect how children acquire information and create constructs to describe various relationships. At a young age, children are taught through films that physical appearance is rewarded by society and is an integral part of romantic love. This study assesses the extent to which Disney films affect portrayals of expectations for family and romantic relationships based on fairytale elements such as “love at first sight” and “happily ever after.” This study tests six hypotheses from demographic information and seven survey items developed by the author. Findings indicate that participants (N = 65) who believe in the themes also believe that the experiences are possible for them, despite understanding the unrealistic nature of fairytales. Results show an inconsistency between the importance of attractiveness question and “love at first sight.” Since the fairytale element is based on physical characteristics, a correlation with the attractiveness question was expected. Many questions remain due to the restrictive nature of the study and small non-diverse sample size. Future research should look at how the division of power among stereotypical gender roles impacts beliefs about “happily ever after.” Since the media does have a large influence on how children incorporate various incidents and relationships into their mindsets, Disney needs to be careful about the stereotypes, messages, and themes it presents and reinforces.

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