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The European Journal of Communication Research

Ed. by Averbeck-Lietz, Stefanie / d'Haenens, Leen

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.707
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.151

CiteScore 2018: 0.86

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.460
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.580

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Volume 40, Issue 1


Parasocial relationships with audiences’ favorite celebrities: The role of audience and celebrity characteristics in a representative Flemish sample

Nathalie Claessens / Hilde Van den Bulck
Published Online: 2015-03-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2014-0027


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.

Keywords: parasocial relationships; favorite celebrity; analogy to social relationships; emotional connection; cultural proximity

About the article

Published Online: 2015-03-02

Published in Print: 2015-03-01

Citation Information: Communications, Volume 40, Issue 1, Pages 43–65, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2014-0027.

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