Television Viewing and Divorce in Indonesia: Evidence from Macro Data

Main Article Content

Romi Bhakti Hartarto
Ibnu Hajar


The rise in divorce incidence seems to be the most apparent social phenomenon in Indonesia during the last decade. As the Ministry of Religious Affairs noted, the number of divorces has increased by 9% to 408,202 in 2018 compared to the previous year. One rationale that may explain this phenomenon comes from the role of television, which has the potential to influence the opinions of society through its programs. In developing countries, including Indonesia, television is still relevant as a medium to reach a large portion of society at a low cost. Hence, this study aims to determine the role of television viewing on divorce in Indonesia. Unlike previous studies, which use qualitative data collected with in-depth interviews at the individual level, we utilize quantitative analysis based on macro data at the provincial level from Statistics Indonesia in 2018. We perform a multiple regression model using the ordinary least squares method and find statistical evidence that divorce rates are positively associated with television viewing, particularly in rural areas. From this finding, the government should regulate media by limiting the frequency and duration of soap operas and celebrity news and by promoting television stations to provide diversified content on their channel.

Article Details

How to Cite
Hartarto, R. B., & Hajar, I. (2023). Television Viewing and Divorce in Indonesia: Evidence from Macro Data. Journal of Population and Social Studies [JPSS], 32, 1–13. Retrieved from
Research Articles
Author Biography

Romi Bhakti Hartarto, Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Corresponding author


• Ahmed, I. (2022). Television and women’s reproductive behavior: Evidence from Uganda. Journal of Media Economics, 34(3), 135–151.

• Amato, P. R., & James, S. (2010). Divorce in Europe and the United States: Commonalities and differences across nations. Family Science, 1(1), 2–13.

• Asia Video Industry Association. (2022, October 6). Indonesia in View.

• Chong, A., & Ferrara, E. La. (2009). Television and divorce: Evidence from Brazilian novelas. Journal of the European Economic Association, 7(2–3), 458–468.

• Cunningham, M., & Thornton, A. (2006). The influences of parents’ and offsprings’ experience with cohabitation, marriage, and divorce on attitudes toward divorce in young adulthood. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 44(1–2), 119–144.

• de Vaus, D., Gray, M., Qu, L., & Stanton, D. (2017). The economic consequences of divorce in six OECD countries. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 52(2), 180–199.

• Dewi, R. K., Suryadarma, D., & Suryahadi, A. (2018). The impact of media on behaviour: Evidence from television coverage expansion and declining fertility in Indonesia. Development Policy Review, 36, O552–O563.

• Dommaraju, P., & Jones, G. (2011). Divorce trends in Asia. Asian Journal of Social Science, 39(6), 725–750.

• Emery, R. E. (2013). Cultural sociology of divorce: An encyclopedia. SAGE publications.

• Eype, M. Y. (2016, May). Media effects on divorce attitudes: Breaking the taboo (Master’s thesis). University of Houston.

• Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (2011). Predicting and changing behavior: The reasoned action approach. Taylor & Francis.

• Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Eleey, M. F., Jackson-Beeck, M., Jeffries-Fox, S., & Signorielli, N. (1977). TV violence profile No. 8: The highlights. Journal of Communication, 27(2), 171–180.

• Ghaboush, R. A., Al-Qdah, T., & Jomah, W. A. (2020). The impact of divorce on mothers with children living conditions and behaviors: A study on a sample of divorcees in Jordan. Journal of Social Sciences (COES&RJ-JSS), 9(4), 1531–1542.

• Global Web Index. (2019). Digital vs traditional media consumption Global Trends Report, 2019.

• Gustavsen, G. W., Nayga, R. M., & Wu, X. (2016). Effects of parental divorce on teenage children’s risk behaviors: Incidence and persistence. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 37, 474–487.

• Härkönen, J. (2014). Divorce: Trends, patterns, causes, and consequences. In J. Treas, J. Scott, & M. Richards (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell companion to the sociology of families (pp. 303–322). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

• Hartarto, R. B., & Wibowo, W. T. (2023). Conditional cash transfer and early marriage: A case study of Mataram City, West Nusa Tenggara. International Journal of Development Issues, 22(1), 57–71.

• Heaton, T., & Cammack, M. (2011). Explaining the recent upturn in divorce in Indonesia: Developmental idealism and the effect of political change. Asian Journal of Social Science, 39(6), 776–796.

• Hidayati, N. (2019). The influence of media and technology on gender transformation and divorce rates in Indonesia. Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Emerging Media, and Social Science, ICEMSS 2018, 7–8 December 2018, Banyuwangi, Indonesia.

• Hobart, M. (2006). Introduction: Why is entertainment television in Indonesia important? Asian Journal of Communication, 16(4), 343–351.

• Indonesian Broadcasting Commission. (2017). Survei Indeks Kualitas Program Siaran Televisi [Television Broadcast Program Quality Index Survey].

• Johnson, H. A., Zabriskie, R. B., & Hill, B. (2006). The contribution of couple leisure involvement, leisure time, and leisure satisfaction to marital satisfaction. Marriage & Family Review, 40(1), 69–91.

• Kamaruddin, Z. (2005). Divorce laws in Malaysia: Civil and Sharia. Malayan Law Journal.

• Lokadata. (2018). Jumlah kasus perceraian di Indonesia 2011-2018 [Number of divorce cases in Indonesia 2011-2018].

• Martin, S. P. (2006). Trends in marital dissolution by women’s education in the United States. Demographic Research, 15, 537–560.

• Morgan, M., & Shanahan, J. (2010). The state of cultivation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54(2), 337–355.

• Nielsen. (2017, July). Tren baru di kalangan pengguna internet di Indonesia [New trends among internet users in Indonesia].

• Nobles, J. & Buttenheim, A. (2008). Marriage and socioeconomic change in contemporary Indonesia. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70(4), 904–918.

• OECD. (2021). Marriage and divorce.

• Olken, B. A. (2009). Do television and radio destroy social capital? Evidence from Indonesian villages. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 1(4), 1–33.

• Ortiz-Ospina, E., & Roser, M. (2020, July 25). Marriages and divorces. Our World in Data.

• Osborn, J. L. (2012). When TV and marriage meet: A social exchange analysis of the impact of television viewing on marital satisfaction and commitment. Mass Communication and Society, 15(5), 739–757.

• Quintelier, E. & Hooghe, M. (2011). Television and political participation among adolescents: The impact of television viewing, entertainment and information preferences. Mass Communication and Society, 14, 620–642.

• Rinaldo, R., Nisa, E. F., & Nurmila, N. (2022). Divorce narratives and class inequalities in Indonesia. Journal of Family Issues, 0(0).

• Ritzer, G., & Stepnisky, J. (2021). Modern sociological theory. Sage Publications.

• Rochim, M. (2007). Mengapa Kita Perlu Regulasi Penyiaran [Why do we need broadcast regulations]? Mediator: Jurnal Komunikasi, 8(2), 227–234.

• Rofi, A., & Salsabila, G. (2022). Analisis konteks wilayah terhadap perceraian di Provinsi Jawa Timur [Regional context analysis of divorce in East Java Province]. Jurnal Ilmu Keluarga & Konsumen, 15(1), 1–13.

• Sari, Y., Kurnia, S. S., & Sundaya, Y. (2016). The risk of divorce: Style of communication, stages of family development and type of socioeconomic status. International Journal of Culture and History, 2(1), 5–8.

• Segrin, C., & Nabi, R. L. (2002). Does television viewing cultivate unrealistic expectations about marriage? Journal of Communication, 52(2), 247–263.

• Setiadi, S. (2021). Getting married is a simple matter: Early marriage among Indonesian Muslim girls in rural areas of Java. JSW (Jurnal Sosiologi Walisongo), 5(2), 143–154.

• Signorielli, N. (2005). Age-based ratings, content designations, and television content: Is there a problem? Mass Communication & Society, 8(4), 277–298.

• Sofjan, D., & Hidayati, M. (2013, October). Religion and television in Indonesia: Ethics surrounding Dakwahtainment.

• Statistics Indonesia. (2019, April 26). Persentase penduduk berumur 10 tahun ke atas menurut provinsi, jenis kelamin, dan status perkawinan, 2009-2018 [Percentage of population aged 10 years and over by province, gender, and marital status, 2009-2018]. Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS).

• Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia. (2019). Laporan Tahunan Badan Peradilan Agama [Annual Report of the Religious Courts].

• Teachman, J. D. & Paasch, K. M. (1994). Financial impact of divorce on children and their families. Children and Divorce, 4(1), 63–83.

• Umar, M. (2020). Marriage and divorce: How the two manifest within the Banjarise Community in Indonesia. The Journal of Social Sciences Research, 63, 245–251.

• van Huis, S. C. (2019). Khul' over the Longue Durée: The decline of traditional Fiqh-Based divorce mechanisms in Indonesian legal practice. Islamic Law and Society, 26(1/2), 58–82.

• Waite, L. J., & Gallagher, M. (2000). The case for marriage. Contemporary Sociology, 30(6), 564–565.

• Weiss, Y. (2001). Family theory: Economic theory of marriage and divorce. In N. J. Smelser & P. B. Baltes (Eds.), Encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences (pp. 5387–5392). Pergamon.

• Widiantari, M., & Utari, P. (2018). 12. Divorce pattern shift in Indonesia. 5th International Conference on Social and Political Sciences (IcoSaPS 2018), 56–59.