Although traditional mood management theory suggests we use media to deflect sad moods and maintain good moods, various research findings reflect a more complex picture. The present study took a mixed-method, nuanced approach to basic mood management questions and investigated both open and close-ended media preferences among college students (N = 157) immediately following a positive or negative mood induction. Results show that sad (vs. happy) participants showed a preference for viewing a dark comedy or a social drama, whereas happy (vs. sad) participants showed a preference for viewing a slapstick comedy or an action adventure. Women (vs. men) showed an increased preference for romantic genres regardless of mood, whereas men showed a preference for action, suspense, and dark comedy genres. An interaction between gender and mood also emerged; sad men in particular showed a preference for dark comedies. Results are discussed in light of the emotional gratifications that mood-reflecting media may afford men and women.
Source: “Of Sad Men and Dark Comedies: Mood and Gender Effects on Entertainment Media Preferences” from Mass Communication and Society, Volume 13, Issue 3 July 2010 , pages 232 – 249