Date of Completion


Embargo Period



mediated imagined interactions; Revelation Risk Model; theory construction, scale development, disclosure, media effects, media influence

Major Advisor

John L. Christensen

Associate Advisor

Amanda Denes

Associate Advisor

Saraswathi Bellur

Field of Study

Communication Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Media messages have the power to influence how people imagine their conversations with others, yet there is no research or theoretical construct that examines this more closely. During this multiphase dissertation, a new expansion of imagined interaction theory and a hybridization of imagined interactions theory, social cognitive theory, and the parasocial contact hypothesis is presented: the mediated imagined interaction hypothesis. The mediated imagined interaction hypothesis posits that media influences the way that people imagine their conversations with other people in their lives, so that this new theoretical construct finds itself at the intersection between media and interpersonal communication studies. This dissertation sought to establish a valid and reliable scale for which to measure this construct and then to examine the newly established mediated imagined interaction scale within the concept of disclosures within close friendships.

Results across phase one revealed a valid and reliable study with five functions and attributes associated with the mediated imagined interaction hypothesis (rehearsal, reflection, verisimilitude, character, and dialogue). Results of phase two revealed that rehearsal mediated imagined interactions have a moderate, positive effect on the direct disclosure strategy. Additionally, verisimilitude mediated imagined interactions revealed a negative effect on direct disclosure, while risk mediated this process such that the more people felt the media situation was similar to their own, the more risk they associated with the disclosure, which in turn negatively impacted their directness. Limitations, future directions, and theoretical and practical implications are discussed.