Networked Parasocial Relationships: Examining the Contributions of Ego-Networks and Identity on Positive Parasocial Relationships and their Importance
AuthorLutovsky, Bethany R.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractParasocial relationships (PSRs) examine the one-way, imagined relationships that takes place between an individual and a media figure. Although these relationships exist with media figures, research has found that they tend to resemble the relationships that individuals form within their social lives. This study examined two concepts of parasocial research, the formation of positive PSRs and PSR dependence, using social network analysis. This analysis method was proposed to be a key element to settle the debate between the competing interpersonal theories regarding parasocial relationships and extend the knowledge of why these relationships exist. However, results of an online survey recruited through television fandom subreddits indicated that social network structure was not a substantial determinant of the creation and dependence on these relationships. The methods used in this study were unable to explain the inconsistent results found for the compensatory and complementary hypotheses. Additional analyses were run examining the role social network analysis and identity played in the parasocial experience. Significant results were found indicating that network analysis related to identity and overall identity salience of the ego and alters were reliably related to positive PSR formation and PSR dependence. Therefore, the identity of the ego and the network alters played a role in the formation and dependence on positive PSRs. The implications of these findings on the understanding of parasocial relationships and areas of future research are discussed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College