Parasocial relationships with audiences favorite celebrities : the role of audience and celebrity characteristics in a representative Flemish sampleParasocial relationships with audiences favorite celebrities : the role of audience and celebrity characteristics in a representative Flemish sample
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Media, policy and culture
Communications : the European journal of communication research. - München, 1976, currens
40(2015):1, p. 43-65
University of Antwerp
This article provides insight into one form of audience involvement with celebrities: parasocial relationships (PSR). To address several shortcomings in PSR research focus on TV, confusion between PSI (parasocial interaction) and PSR, use of student samples, neglect of socio-demographic variables a representative online survey was conducted with 1000 Flemish adults who indicated 382 celebrities as favorites. A new scale reveals that PSR contain two important elements: emotional connections and an analogy with social relationships. Confirming previous research, most favorite celebrities are male, and cultural proximity is especially important for older respondents. In one combined model, respondents and celebrities (socio-demographic) characteristics are included as potential PSR predictors. This model nuances previous research and reveals that people who are male, older, more lowly-educated, and interested in celebrity news have stronger PSR. Further, stronger PSR are found for local and religious, political, sports, and music celebrities than for film celebrities.