Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Fandom: Exploring the Relationship between Mental Health and Celebrity Worship among Filipinos

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Fandom: Exploring the Relationship between Mental Health and Celebrity Worship among Filipinos

Article excerpt

Despite the lack of physical interaction between most celebrities and their audiences, the strong emotional connection that audiences feel for them endures (De Backer, 2012). This emotional connection is what Horton and Wohl (1956) called a parasocial interaction, a one-sided quasi-interaction between an audience and a celebrity. A specific form of parasocial interaction, celebrity worship, has been conceptualized by McCutcheon, Lange and Houran (2002), and it ranges from normal admiration to psychopathological obsession. To further explain celebrity worship, McCutcheon et al. (2002) proposed the Absorption Addiction Model. According to this model, the majority of celebrity worshipers initially are attracted to their favorite celebrities largely for the entertainment and social value that they provide. A minority of these persons subsequently become increasingly absorbed in the personal lives of their favorites, perhaps in an effort to establish an identity and a sense of fulfillment. The psychological absorption element is then hypothesized to take on addictive components, leading fans to endorse more intense attitudes and behaviors in order to maintain the absorption, similar to increased doses of a drug needed to overcome tolerance levels that develop. People who score high on this second level of the Celebrity Attitude Scale (CAS) tend to show higher levels of depression, anxiety, hostility and impulsiveness as compared to those who score lower on level two (Maltby, Day, McCutcheon, Gillett, Houran, & Ashe, 2004; Maltby, McCutcheon, Ashe, & Houran, 2001; Maltby, McCutcheon, & Lowinger, 2011).

A few persons eventually move beyond this second level to a third one, becoming so addicted to their favorite celebrities that they would consider doing something illegal if their favorite celebrity requested it (McCutcheon, Maltby, Houran, & Ashe, 2004); in two studies their personality scores suggested a wider psychoticism dimension (Maltby, et al., 2004; Maltby, Houran & McCutcheon, 2003), and there is also evidence of mild cognitive impairment (Martin, Cayanus, McCutcheon, & Maltby, 2003; McCutcheon, Ashe, Houran, & Maltby, 2003; McCutcheon, Lowinger, Wong, & Jenkins, 2014).

The Public Figure and Preoccupation Inventory (PFPI) is a 50-item scale designed for the assessment of the attitudes and behaviors toward a celebrity and to distinguish normal celebrity worship from unhealthy preoccupation (Sheridan, Maltby, & Gillett, 2006). A brief visual analysis of the PFPI items shows that its purpose overlaps with that of the CAS; that is to quantify attitudes toward a favorite celebrity. However, its focus is slightly different in that it is more concerned with obsessive and stalking-like behaviors - more like levels two and three of the CAS.

Fandom entails an organized community of like-minded persons who are united in their devotion to a particular celebrity, as well as participation and possibly self-identification with that community (Busse & Sandvoss, 2007). In the Philippines, fandoms require interpersonal relationships with other fans, where they can share interests and build a common culture (Duncombe, 2012). There is an abundance of research which suggests that persons who enjoy considerable social support tend to be both physically and mentally healthy (for brief reviews see Bolt & Dunn, 2016; Compton & Hoffman, 2013). None of the extant research which used the Celebrity Attitude Scale specifically targeted individuals who were fandom members. Thus it seems possible that membership in a fandom, with the social support that accompanies it, might serve as a partial buffer against the negative attitudes and behaviors that often adhere to celebrity worshipers, especially those who score high on levels two and three of the CAS.

The present study is an attempt to determine if Filipino fandom members have more favorable attitudes on two measures of celebrity attraction than a comparable group of Filipinos who are not members of fandom groups. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.