Psychological Determinants of Idolatry in Adolescents

By Cheng, Sheung-Tak | Adolescence, Fall 1997 | Go to article overview

Psychological Determinants of Idolatry in Adolescents


Cheng, Sheung-Tak, Adolescence


Idolatry, the excessive admiration of, and devotion to, something or someone, is commonly found among adolescents. In Hong Kong, as in many countries, popular singers and movie stars are the choice of idols for many. To the adolescent who is searching for a sense of identity, identification with an idol and sharing a common purpose with fan-club members can be important sources of values, meanings, and fulfillment (Roe, 1985). Idolatrous activities (e.g., collecting items with the idol's trademark, waiting to see an idol outside a building, going to concerts and movies) can take up a large amount of the adolescent's time and resources.

Despite this important phenomenon, research on idolatrous behavior is lacking. Not a single empirical study on the psychological correlates of this behavior was found in a search of the literature over the past twenty years. This study investigated the psychological characteristics of adolescents who were members of two fan clubs in Hong Kong. Yeung (1995) has shown that being a member of a fan club is strongly associated with the time and money spent on idolatrous activities. This study focused on adolescents age 16 or below, because older adolescents tend not to be active in fan clubs in Hong Kong.

It was hypothesized that joining a fan club would be associated with two different but related psychological factors: self-esteem and fear of negative evaluation (Yeung, 1995). First, adolescents with low self-esteem may gain a sense of pride from associating with people of higher social status, such as superstars. For example, adolescents can show off to peers by collecting an idol's items or take pride in supporting their superstars. Second, idolatrous behaviors take place in a peer context and, given their popularity, adolescents may engage in such activities simply to gain acceptance by peers. Hence, individuals with a high fear of negative evaluation from others may join a fan club to avoid rejection. It is unlikely that self-esteem and fear of negative evaluation would affect idolatry independently, since they have been shown to be interrelated for adolescents (di Maria & di Nuovo, 1990; Yeung, 1995). Thus, an interaction effect on self-esteem and fear of negative evaluation was expected.

METHOD

Sample

A convenience sample of teenagers age 16 or below who were members of two different fan clubs - one for a male and the other for a female pop singer - participated in the study. The fan clubs were chosen in order to obtain a more sex-balanced sample, although members of fan clubs in Hong Kong are predominantly females. Four helpers who were themselves devoted fan-club members were asked to distribute a questionnaire to other active participants in their clubs. The respondents filled out the questionnaire individually and returned it to the researcher by mail. A total of 111 questionnaires were distributed and 79 were returned (a 71.2% return rate). However, 2 cases had to be dropped due to incomplete data, leaving 77 for analysis.

One hundred fifty-seven students in Grades 7 to 10 of a local high school were also recruited. One class from each grade was randomly sampled to participate in the study. The students completed the same questionnaire individually in class, which was collected by the teacher. To avoid possible overlap with the fan-club sample, 22 respondents who admitted to having been members of fan clubs were excluded, as were 4 students above the age of 16 and 3 whose questionnaires were incomplete, leaving 128 for analysis.

This school was chosen partly because of convenience, but more importantly it was generally considered to be below average in overall academic reputation, which represents the school background of most fan-club members (Yeung, 1995). In the present study, 89.5% of fan-club members were studying in a similar school. In light of the relationship between academic status and self-esteem (Cheung, 1986; Rubin, 1978), the fan-club respondents were classified into two groups on the basis of the academic reputation of their schools. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Psychological Determinants of Idolatry in Adolescents
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.