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Abstract

The current research proposes that low self-esteem people can use parasocial relationships to experience movement toward the ideal self, a benefit they may miss in real relationships. In Study 1, low self-esteem undergraduate psychology students at a public university in the United States felt closest to celebrities who were similar to their ideal self. In Study 2, low self-esteem college students primed with their favorite celebrity became more similar to their ideal selves. In Study 3, low self-esteem college students primed with their favorite celebrity, but not a close relationship partner, became more similar to their ideal selves. Results are discussed in terms of the implications for parasocial relationships, self-esteem, and the flexibility of the need to belong.