Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development


Jean M. Lown


The purpose of this study was to define the messages related to food preparation that are conveyed by women's magazines to homemakers as consumers during the post-World War II period, and to analyze any changes of those messages over time. A content analysis of food related articles and advertisements in representative issues of Ladies' Home Journal and Good Housekeeping magazines from 1947 to 1986 was conducted. Both manifest and latent content were coded and agreement between the two measures was analyzed.

Of eighteen messages defined, five were found to account for 78.9 percent of the messages conveyed,. The five messages, listed in descending order, were (1) taste and visual appeal, (2) convenience and versatility, (3) nutrition, (4) quality, and (5) expertise in homemaking and hostessing skills. Using a test of chi-square, no significant difference in the distribution of the messages conveyed from year to year was found. Nevertheless, changes in presentation of the messages were found. Changes were geared to changing technological orientations, economic conditions, and gender roles.