Admirer-celebrity relationships among young adults.

Explaining perceptions of celebrity influence on identity

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E-mail: sdboon@ucalgary.ca

Abstract

This study investigated young adults' judgments regarding the degree to which relationships with celebrity idols influenced their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth. Participants (N=75) were recruited from a larger sample (N=213) of young adults whose responses to a brief survey instrument indicated that they were moderately to strongly attached to media figures they identified as idols in their lives. The present paper discusses the characteristics of the sample of idols participants reported as well as descriptive data concerning the degree to which participants perceived these idols as influential in shaping their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth. We also present the results of an exploratory path analysis that tested hypotheses about the possible relational antecedents of participants' perceived influence ratings, hypotheses derived from Caughey's (1984) analysis of celebrity-admirer relationships. The results highlight the utility of adopting a relational orientation to the study of how attachments to celebrities can significantly shape identity development.

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