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A Clinical interpretation of attitudes and behaviors associated with celebrity worship

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The phenomenon of celebrity worship is currently conceptualized as an abnormal type of parasocial relationship, driven by absorption and addictive elements and which potentially has significant clinical sequelae. The authors hypothesize that the three increasingly extreme sets of attitudes and behaviors associated with celebrity worship also partly reflect the three domains of personality discussed in Eysenckian theory. Specifically, celebrity worship for entertainment-social reasons may reflect extraversion personality traits; intense-personal attitudes and behaviors toward celebrities may reflect neuroticism traits; and celebrity worship of a borderline-pathological nature may reflect psychoticism traits. To test this idea, the authors administered the Celebrity Attitude Scale and the Abbreviated Form of the Revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to large convenience samples of students (N = 317) and community (N = 290) respondents. Results indicate that celebrity worship is not an uncommon phenomenon. Further, correlational analyses supported predictions and suggest that Eysenckian domains of personality may promote or hinder a person's progression along the continuum of behaviors associated with celebrity worship.
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A Clinical Interpretation of Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with
Celebrity Worship
JOHN MALTBY, PH.D.,
1
JAMES HOURAN, M.A.
2,3
and LYNN E. MCCUTCHEON, ED.D.
4
The phenomenon of celebrity worship is currently conceptualized as an abnormal
type of parasocial relationship, driven by absorption and addictive elements and
which potentially has significant clinical sequelae. The authors hypothesize that the
three increasingly extreme sets of attitudes and behaviors associated with celebrity
worship also partly reflect the three domains of personality discussed in Eysenckian
theory. Specifically, celebrity worship for entertainment-social reasons may reflect
extraversion personality traits; intense-personal attitudes and behaviors toward
celebrities may reflect neuroticism traits; and celebrity worship of a borderline-
pathological nature may reflect psychoticism traits. To test this idea, the authors
administered the Celebrity Attitude Scale and the Abbreviated Form of the Revised
Eysenck Personality Questionnaire to large convenience samples of students (N
317) and community (N290) respondents. Results indicate that celebrity worship
is not an uncommon phenomenon. Further, correlational analyses supported pre-
dictions and suggest that Eysenckian domains of personality may promote or hinder
a person’s progression along the continuum of behaviors associated with celebrity
worship.
J Nerv Ment Dis 191:25–29, 2003
The adoration of celebrities as idols or models is
a normal part of identity development in childhood
and adolescence (Greene and Adams-Price, 1990;
Raviv et al., 1996; Yue and Cheung, 2000), but be-
yond this form of parasocial interaction is the seem-
ingly abnormal phenomenon whereby persons with
assumed intact identities become virtually obsessed
with one or more celebrities—similar to an eroto-
manic type of delusional disorder. This type of ob-
sessive-like behavior is known as celebrity worship.
Prevalence rates are not known, but celebrity wor-
ship is at least visible enough that the popular media
have taken notice. The stalking of celebrities is per-
haps the most dramatic and widely reported expres-
sion of this phenomenon (for a review see e.g.,
Melton, 2000), but celebrity worship can also affect
on a private level the person with the fixation. For
instance, in a recent issue of a teen fashion magazine
a 16-year-old girl told of her self-described obsession
with a musician and her reaction to the news of the
musician’s marriage engagement. According to
Haynes and Rich (2002), the adolescent was hospi-
talized because in response to hearing this informa-
tion she reportedly ran a hot bath and cut herself on
her neck, arms, and legs. Thoughts in her mind
during this disturbing event included, “She’s going to
change him if he gets married. . .I’m not going to live
with that” (p 198). Even on recovery from her inju-
ries, there was continued evidence of obsessional-
like ideations: “I don’t care who he dates, sleeps
with, marries. . .I realized I wanted him to be happy,
and that that would make me happy. . .He’s the only
person I connect with” (Haynes and Rich, 2002, p 198).
McCutcheon et al. (2002) proposed an Absorption-
Addiction model to explain such cases of celebrity
worship. According to this model, a compromised
identity structure in some persons facilitates psy-
chological absorption with a celebrity in an attempt
to establish an identity and a sense of fulfillment.
The dynamics of the motivational forces driving this
absorption may in turn take on an addictive compo-
nent, leading to more extreme (and perhaps delu-
sional) behaviors to sustain the person’s satisfaction
with the parasocial relationship. Several studies
based on the Celebrity Attitude Scale (Maltby et al.,
2001; Maltby et al., 2002; McCutcheon et al., 2002)
are consistent with this proposed model and suggest
that there are three increasingly more extreme sets
of attitudes and behaviors associated with celebrity
worship.
1
School of Psychology, University of Leicester, Leicester,
United Kingdom.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Southern Illinois University
School of Medicine, 901 West Jefferson, P.O. Box 19642, Spring-
field, Illinois 62794-9642. Send reprint requests to J. Houran.
3
Department of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide,
South Australia.
4
Department of General Education, DeVry University, Or-
lando, Florida.
0022-3018/03/1911–25 Vol. 191, No. 1
THE JOURNAL OF NERVOUS AND MENTAL DISEASE Printed in U.S.A.
Copyright © 2003 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
25
Low levels of celebrity worship have entertain-
ment-social value and comprise attitudes and behav-
iors like My friends and I like to discuss what my
favorite celebrity has done,and Learning the life
story of my favorite celebrity is a lot of fun.This
stage reflects social aspects to celebrity worship and
is consistent with Stevers (1991) observation that
fans are attracted to a favorite celebrity because of
their perceived ability to entertain and capture our
attention. Intermediate levels of celebrity worship,
by contrast, are characterized by more intense-per-
sonal feelings, defined by items like I consider my
favorite celebrity to be my soul mate,and I have
frequent thoughts about my celebrity, even when I
dont want to.This stage arguably reflects persons
intensive and compulsive feelings around the celeb-
rity, akin to the obsessional tendencies of fans often
referred to in the literature (Dietz et al., 1991; Giles,
2000). The most extreme expression of celebrity
worship is labeled borderline-pathological, as exem-
plified by items like If someone gave me several
thousand dollars to do with as I please, I would
consider spending it on a personal possession (like a
napkin or paper plate) once used by my favorite
celebrity,and If I were lucky enough to meet my
favorite celebrity, and he/she asked me to do some-
thing illegal as a favor I would probably do it.This
factor is thought to reflect a persons social-patho-
logical attitudes and behaviors that are held as a
result of worshiping a celebrity.
Sociological factors like mass media and commu-
nication may buttress all of these behaviors (e.g.,
Giles, 2000; Showalter, 1997), but a number of psy-
chological risk factors also influence a persons pro-
gression along the continuum of celebrity worship.
In particular, we know that celebrity worshipers
exhibit poorer psychological functioning than non-
worshipers (Maltby et al., 2001; McCutcheon et al.,
in press); the phenomenon occurs more in adoles-
cents or young adults than older persons (Ashe and
McCutcheon, 2001; Giles, in press);
5
and celebrity
worshipers are more likely than nonworshipers to
value a game-playinglove style (McCutcheon,
2002). However, celebrity worship does not appear
to be related to authoritarianism (Maltby et al., 2001)
and at best is only very weakly associated with
shyness or loneliness (Ashe and McCutcheon, 2001).
Moreover, we speculate that different dimensions
of personality in part promote susceptibility to in-
creasingly more extreme levels of celebrity worship.
For instance, the three stages discussed above
strongly parallel the three dimensions of Eysenckian
personality theory (Eysenck and Eysenck, 1985):
extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. That
is, the entertainment-social factor of the Celebrity
Attitude Scale reflects some of the extraversion per-
sonality traits (sociable, lively, active, venturesome);
the intense-personal factor of the Celebrity Attitude
Scale reflects some of the neuroticism traits (tense,
emotional, moody); and some of the acts described
in the borderline-pathological subscale of the Celeb-
rity Attitude Scale seem to reflect some of the psy-
choticism traits (impulsive, antisocial, egocentric).
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to test
these predictions by examining the correlations be-
tween the three levels of celebrity worship and the
three dimensions of Eysencks personality theory.
Methods
Respondents
Data were collected from two samples in the
United Kingdom. The first sample consisted of 164
male and 153 female full-time university students
(mean age 20.4 years, SD 2.6, range 18 to 29
years). The sample was predominantly composed of
single (N290) white persons (N211) who were
currently employed in some type of part-time work
(N163). The other sample was a convenience
sample of 127 male and 163 female respondents
(mean age 34.3 years, SD 8.1, range 22 to 60
years) from a number of workplaces and commu-
nity groups. This sample was predominantly com-
posed of married (N144) white persons (N
208) who were employed (N197), and most
(N87) had the equivalent of at least one O
level/GCSE education.
Materials
Materials included the a) Celebrity Attitude Scale
(CAS; McCutcheon et al., 2002). This is a 34-item
Likert-type scale with strongly agreeequal to 5 and
strongly disagreeequal to 1. From analysis reported
in Maltby et al. (2002), three subscales were formed
from 23 of the items: entertainment-social, intense-
personal, and borderline-pathological. Additionally,
the b) Abbreviated Form of the Revised Eysenck Per-
sonality Questionnaire (EPQR-A; Francis et al., 1992),
which contains 6-item measures of extraversion, neu-
roticism, psychoticism, and lie scores, was used. Re-
sponses are scores on a yes”–“noresponse format.
Within Eysenckian theory, extraversion traits com-
prise sociable, carefree, optimistic traits (Eysenck and
Eysenck, 1975). A person scoring high on extraversion
is likely to have many friends, take chances, and crave
5
Giles DC, Maltby J (submitted) The role of media in adoles-
cent development: Relations between autonomy, attachment,
and interest in celebrities.
MALTBY et al.
26
excitement (Eysenck et al., 2000). Second, a person
scoring high in neuroticism is anxious, moody, and
frequently depressed, likely to suffer from psycho-
somatic disorders, preoccupied with things that may
go wrong, and is overly emotional (Eysenck and
Eysenck, 1975; Eysenck et al., 2000). Third, psy-
choticism comprises solitary, troublesome, cruel, in-
humane, aggressive, and insensitive traits (Eysenck
and Eysenck, 1975; Eysenck et al., 2000). Psychiatric
terms associated with psychoticism subsume schiz-
oid,”“psychopathic,and behavioral disorders;
however, within Eysenckian theory, these are only
correlates of extreme scores on the scale (Eysenck
et al., 2000). Last, the questionnaire also contains a
measure of lie scores, to take account of persons
producing responses that are socially desirable.
We emphasize that these three dimensions of per-
sonality are not mutually exclusive; people have
these three traits to different degrees to the extent
that Eysenck et al. (2000) suggested that sometimes
personality traits are mixed. Those authors gave the
example that a person who scores high in neuroti-
cism and extraversion will likely to be touchy, rest-
less, and easily excitable. Moreover, the scale has
been subject to exploratory and confirmatory factor
analyses that suggest the unidimensionality of the
four EPQR-A subscales of Extraversion, Neuroti-
cism, Psychoticism, and the Lie Scale (Forrest et al.,
2000). This is consistent with the popular notion of a
continuum within the general population, along
which ordinary and pathological forms of thought
and perception may be mapped (e.g., Claridge, 1990,
1997; Posey and Losch, 19831984; Prentky, 1989).
Construct validity has been found for the subscales
in terms of predicted relationships with psychological
well-being, affect, religiosity, cognitive tasks, and
sex roles (Chang, 1997; Cooper and Taylor, 1999;
Francis and Bolger, 1997; Lewis and Maltby, 1995;
Shevlin et al., 2002).
Results
Table 1 shows the mean score and standard devi-
ation for each measure. There were no statistically
significant gender differences for any of the scales,
except that in both samples, the women scored sig-
nificantly higher than the men on neuroticism. How-
ever, an alpha correction for multiple observations
indicates this effect is not robust. Table 1 gives the
Cronbach alphas for all the scales for the university
and older adult samples. The reliability statistic for
the 4-item CAS borderline-pathological subscale in
both samples was, on first analysis, very low (student
sample,
.55; older adult,
.52). On examining
item-to-total correlations, removal of the item News
about my favorite celebrity is a pleasant break from
the harsh world(item 32) increased the reliability
statistic to satisfactory level for each sample (Table 1).
Given that Maltby et al. (2002) have commented on the
unusualness of this item in the borderline-pathological
scale, it was removed, and scores for a 3-item measure
of CAS borderline-pathological subscale were com-
puted. Therefore, present findings suggest that all the
scales show satisfactory internal reliability, with the
exception of psychoticism, which falls slightly below
Klines (1986) criterion of .70.
Contrary to the idea that celebrity worship is an
uncommon phenomenon, Table 2 shows that ap-
proximately 36% of our combined sample scored at
or above the theoretical midpoints on the three sub-
scales of the CAS. Interestingly, about 27% of the
combined sample scored highly on the intense-per-
sonal and borderline-pathological subscales. Our
sampling procedure does not allow us to generalize,
but these findings suggest the possibility that many
persons do not engage in celebrity worship for mere
entertainment. Rather, there appears to be a clear
clinical component to attitudes and behaviors asso-
ciated with celebrity worshiping.
TABLE 1
Mean Scores (SD) by Sex and Alpha Coefficients of All the Scales by Both Samples
Students (n317) Older Adults (n290)
Males Females t(315)
Males Females t(288)
CAS-ES
a
.84 19.13 (8.2) 19.93 (9.7) .79 .90 16.73 (7.6) 16.79 (8.3) .06
CAS-IP
b
.82 22.54 (7.2) 23.26 (7.9) .84 .88 20.76 (8.0) 21.13 (7.7) .39
CAS-Pathology
c
.70 03.66 (2.4) 03.97 (2.5) 1.14 .70 03.42 (2.2) 03.53 (2.3) .41
Extraversion .80 03.81 (2.4) 03.47 (2.3) 1.63 .85 03.36 (2.4) 03.12 (2.4) .85
Neuroticism .78 03.08 (2.4) 03.87 (2.4) 2.64* .75 02.93 (2.5) 03.68 (2.4) 2.57*
Psychoticism .68 02.75 (2.5) 02.76 (2.2) .03 .66 02.81 (2.5) 02.72 (2.4) .32
Lie scores .81 02.14 (2.4) 02.11 (2.3) .11 .72 01.96 (2.2) 01.98 (2.3) .08
a
CAS-ES: Celebrity Attitude Scale Entertainment-Social.
b
CAS-IP: Celebrity Attitude Scale Intense Personal.
c
CAS-Pathology: Celebrity Attitude Scale Borderline-Pathological.
*p.05; **p.01; ***p.001 (statistically significant after .05 Bonferroni correction for multiple observations).
PERSONALITY AND CELEBRITY WORSHIP 27
Table 3 gives the Pearson correlations between all
the variables for the two samples. Consistent with
predictions and replicating well across both sam-
ples, celebrity worship for entertainment-social rea-
sons shared a significantly positive relationship with
extraversion; celebrity worship for intense-personal
reasons shared a significantly positive correlation
with neuroticism; and celebrity worship reflecting
pathological tendencies shared a significantly posi-
tive relationship with psychoticism.
Discussion
The present findings suggest that, among UK sam-
ples, celebrity worship is not an uncommon phenom-
enon and its expression may be explained in part
within wider personality theory. That is, celebrity
worship for entertainment-social reasons is associ-
ated with extraversion; celebrity worship for in-
tense-personal reasons is associated with neuroti-
cism; and celebrity worship reflecting pathological
thoughts and behaviors is related to psychoticism,
all defined in Eysenckian terms. The effect sizes are
at best modest (all rvalues .31); however, they are
robust given a Bonferroni correction (.05) for mul-
tiple observations. Moreover, the findings are con-
sistent with predictions that derived from descrip-
tions of celebrity worship and Eysencks personality
dimensions.
Accordingly, Eysenckian personality theory pro-
vides a theoretical and empirical context for previ-
ous and future findings using the CAS and can be
seen as an important supplement to McCutcheon et
al.s (2002) Absorption-Addiction model of celebrity
worship. In this respect, dimensions of personality
could help promote or hinder progressively more
extreme behaviors described by this model. That is,
the addictive component to McCutcheon et al.s
(2002) Absorption-Addiction model may be medi-
ated partly by personality traits. For instance, we
would not expect persons who score high on the
measure of extraversion and score low on the mea-
sures of neuroticism and psychoticism to be prone
to exhibit dysfunctional expressions of celebrity
worship. By contrast, previous studies have found
celebrity worship for intense personal reasons to be
related to depression and anxiety (Maltby et al.,
2001). The present findings suggest that this aspect
of celebrity worship is positively associated with
neuroticism, and since neuroticism is clearly related
to anxiety and depression (Eysenck and Eysenck,
1975; Gaynes et al., 1997; Maltby et al., 1998), the
neuroticism factor provides a useful understanding
of why these higher levels of celebrity worship are
related to poorer mental health. It may also be the
case that Eysenckian personality dimensions regu-
late the degree to which celebrity worshipers are
uninhibited in behaviors related to their fixation.
Additionally, the findings suggest that future re-
search may find some use in using Eysencks per-
sonality theory as a basis to interpret and conceptu-
alize correlates of celebrity worship. The celebrity
TABLE 3
Pearson Correlations Between All the Scales
Students Above the Diagonal (n317)
CAS-ES CAS-IP CAS-Path E N P L
CAS-ES
a
1.00 .164** .181** .300** .101 .033 .037
CAS-IP
b
.153** 1.00 .131** .059 .306*** .082 .002
CAS-Pathology
c
.193** .215** 1.00 .018 .002 .171** .016
Extraversion .297*** .011 .076 1.00 .033 .047 .085
Neuroticism .098 .267*** .024 .079 1.00 .117* .012
Psychoticism .010 .046 .208*** .027 .086 1.00 .060
Lie scores .041 .070 .061 .046 .009 .051 1.00
Adults Below the Diagonal (n290)
a
CAS-ES: Celebrity Attitude Scale Entertainment-Social.
b
CAS-IP: Celebrity Attitude Scale Intense Personal
c
CAS-Pathology: Celebrity Attitude Scale Borderline-Pathological.
*p.05; **p.01; ***p.001 (statistically significant after .05 Bonferroni correction for multiple observations).
TABLE 2
Distribution of Respondents who Scored at or above
Theoretical Midpoints on the Three Subscales of the Celebrity
Attitude Scale
Adult Sample (n290)
Subscale Total Sample Men Women
Entertainment-Social 18 7 11
Intense-Personal 61 26 35
Borderline-Pathological 5 2 3
Student Sample (n317)
Subscale Total Sample Men Women
Entertainment-Social 36 16 20
Intense-Personal 88 42 46
Borderline-Pathological 8 4 4
Entertainment-Social [10 items] 30; Intense-Personal [9 items]
27; Borderline-Pathological [3 items] 3
MALTBY et al.
28
worship borderline-pathological subscale was posi-
tively related to psychoticism, and psychoticism has
been thought to be important to distinguishing be-
tween tender-minded and tough-minded attitudes
(Eysenck, 1975). Therefore, future research may ex-
amine the relationship between tough-mindedness,
as measured by Hartmanns (1991) Boundary Ques-
tionnaire or Lange et al.s (2000) Revised Translimi-
nality Scale, and borderline-pathological celebrity
worship to extend the understanding of this most
extreme level of celebrity worship. We predict that
significant ego-boundary deficits are operating at
this stage of celebrity worship. Accordingly, the Ab-
sorption-Addiction model augmented by Eysencks
personality theory implies that at this stage the ex-
pression of celebrity worship is firmly rooted in
pathology and thus may become a serious clinical
issue. The case of the female adolescent who was
willing to self-mutilate over her parasocial relation-
ship with a popular musician subsequently might
serve as an illustrative example.
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PERSONALITY AND CELEBRITY WORSHIP 29
... One theory suggests that becoming a fan of a celebrity is a gradual process that begins with healthy interest and sometimes leads to excessive admiration (Brooks, 2018;McCutcheon et al., 2004;Sansone & Sansone, 2014). Several studies have suggested that excessive admiration of a celebrity is closely associated with psychological harms affecting significant aspects of life, such as cognition, work, mental health, and interpersonal relationships (Maltby et al., 2003;McCutcheon et al., 2002;McCutcheon et al., 2004;Sansone & Sansone, 2014;Zsila et al., 2018). Due to the growing popularity of celebrities, people are increasingly choosing them as role models or behavioral references (Sunarni, 2016), and the media has a major role in increasing the popularity of celebrities by favorable portrayals of the celebrity culture (Widiastuti et al., 2020). ...
... Ever since social media have become a popular activity for youth (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011), a more direct relationship has been observed between celebrities and their fans (Giles, 2017;Stever, 2011;Zsila et al., 2020). These onesided relationships can lead to a virtual obsession with the chosen celebrity (Maltby et al., 2003), and engagement with the chosen celebrity can lead to a state where the celebrity turns into a part of the internal self through the process of identification (e.g., the fan learns the personal habits of the admired celebrity) (Alexander, 2010). Research suggests that this kind of engagement impairs self-esteem in the long run (Greenwood et al., 2008). ...
... Higher scores on the CAS indicate higher levels of admiration of a favorite celebrity. Based on the theoretical midpoints suggested by Maltby, Houran and McCutcheon (2003), women scoring at or above 30 on the Entertainment-Social subscale, 27 or above on the Intense-Personal subscale and 12 or above on the Borderline-Pathological subscale were considered high scorers. Participants scoring high on all three subscales were considered celebrity worshipers (n = 117), while those not scoring high on all three subscales of the CAS (n = 993) were considered non-celebrity worshipers. ...
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Interest in celebrities and their impact on those who are strongly attracted to them has been growing for several decades. The present study was designed to shed light on relationships between attraction to a favorite celebrity (celebrity worship) and maladaptive daydreaming, engagement seeking, and body appreciation. Measures of each were administered online to 1,110 Hungarian adult women (M age = 30.6 years, SD = 12.4). Results showed that high levels of maladaptive daydreaming and engagement seeking were strong predictors of high levels of celebrity worship for both single women and those in a relationship. Personal contact with a favorite celebrity predicted higher celebrity worship levels only for women in a relationship. Moreover, single women obtained significantly higher scores on the measure of celebrity worship than those women who reported being in a relationship, controlling for age and educational level. Women who scored extremely high on celebrity worship were significantly more likely to be maladaptive daydreamers than women who scored lower on celebrity worship. These findings provide a nuanced picture of individual differences in celebrity worship. Keywords: body appreciation; celebrity worship; engagement; maladaptive daydreaming; relationship status
... Celebrity worship is defined as an obsessive fascination with a famous person (Zsila, Mccutcheon & Demetrovics, 2018). Maltby, Houran and McCutcheon (2003) conceptualized celebrity worship as -an abnormal type of para-social relationship that is driven by absorption and addictive elements‖. Liu (2013) defined it as -a form of idol worship of a recognized person who commands a high degree of public and media attention‖. ...
... Other researches carried out in Asia, Europe and America have explored the link between celebrity worship and aspects of young people's mental wellbeing. In a study of UK undergraduates, Maltby et al. (2003) identified a positive correlation between higher forms of celebrity worship with neuroticism and psychoticism personality traits both of which reflect risks of mental ill health. Shi (2018) enumerated various mental health problems associated with celebrity worship among youths, namely depression and anxiety, socialization deficiencies, disengagement from reality, antisocial behavior and lack of self-identity. ...
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This study investigated celebrity worship attitude and its relationship with subjective mental health among 1577 adolescents (16-19 years of age) from three tertiary institutions in Nigeria The study used cross-sectional survey and correlational designs. The 34-item celebrity worship attitude scale and adolescents ' mental health continuum short-form were hand distributed for data collection. Data analysis was done with IBM-SPSS software using descriptive and inferential statistics. Four null hypotheses were tested at p<0.05. The findings showed that 63.4% of the respondents were celebrity worshippers. The favorite celebrities were mostly (54.6%) in the music industry. The prevalence of poor mental health was 72.5%. Celebrity worship for the purpose of entertainment-social, was found to be a positive predictor of social well-being; intense-personal positively predicted emotional, psychological and overall mental health.
... Regarding its association with celebrity figures, Reeves, Baker, and Truluck (2012) demonstrated that levels of materialism are highly correlated with celebrity worship, providing support for the Absorption-Addiction model (McCutcheon, Lange, and Houran 2002). The Absorption-Addiction model theorizes that individuals with an inadequate sense of self are more likely to attribute greater meaning to the parasocial relationship with celebrity figures and engage in more excessive behaviour, such as stalking and acquiring goods related to them (Maltby, Houran, and McCutcheon 2003;McCutcheon, Lange, and Houran 2002). Evidence illustrates that affection for media figures is a means to fulfil poor self-concepts such as low self-esteem, loneliness, and unhappiness -characteristics that are prevalent in materialistic consumers (Maltby, Houran, and McCutcheon 2003). ...
... The Absorption-Addiction model theorizes that individuals with an inadequate sense of self are more likely to attribute greater meaning to the parasocial relationship with celebrity figures and engage in more excessive behaviour, such as stalking and acquiring goods related to them (Maltby, Houran, and McCutcheon 2003;McCutcheon, Lange, and Houran 2002). Evidence illustrates that affection for media figures is a means to fulfil poor self-concepts such as low self-esteem, loneliness, and unhappiness -characteristics that are prevalent in materialistic consumers (Maltby, Houran, and McCutcheon 2003). ...
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Despite the ubiquity of social media influencers (SMIs) and the clear value they hold for marketers, little is understood about the sociopsychological motives that drive consumers to follow them. The current research identified unique consumer motivations for following SMIs on Instagram and examined its association with important consumer behaviour outcomes (i.e. trust towards SMIs’ brand-related posts and frequency of purchasing SMI-recommended brands) as well as materialism. Based on survey data, findings revealed four motivations for following influencers on Instagram – authenticity, consumerism, creative inspiration, and envy – which had varying effects on trust and purchase frequency. Additionally, materialism was a significant individual difference variable that was strongly associated with the four motives, some of which served as key mediators underlying materialism’s impact on purchase behaviour. Managerial and theoretical implications for marketers and advertisers are discussed as well as suggestions for future research in this burgeoning area.
... Higher levels of celebrity admiration have also been associated with maladaptive behaviors, including problematic interpersonal behaviors (McCutcheon, Gillen, et al., 2016), excessive gambling (Lian et al., 2019), disordered eating (Aruguete et al., 2014), a tendency to exonerate a fictitious movie star Journal of Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities,2021,7(1), 66-75, E-ISSN: 2413-9270 charged with a serious crime (Wong et al., 2010), intentional self-injury and suicide attempts (Zsila et al.,2020), and elective cosmetic surgery (Maltby & Day, 2011). Collectively, research on celebrity worship shows that it tends to be related to poor mental health (Maltby et al., 2003;Zsila et al., 2020). The research findings support the explanation that celebrity worship serves as a compensation for something that the worshipper lacks, such as a stable identity, an empty or confused sense of self, or meaningful interpersonal relationships (Brooks, 2018;McCutcheon et al., 2002;Reeves et al., 2012). ...
... A sample item is "My friends and I like to discuss what my favorite celebrity has done." The Intense-Personal (IP; 9 items) level is more problematic (Maltby et al., 2003), and reveals an intense attraction to celebrities that has obvious maladaptive properties. A sample item is: "I have frequent thoughts about my favorite celebrity, even when I don't want to." ...
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Information about celebrities has steadily increased over time and is currently available every day in multiple venues. Our study examines whether extreme interest in celebrities has increased over the past 20 years. The Celebrity Attitude Scale appeared in its 23-item iteration in 2001 and has been used extensively since then, making it possible to observe trends in the strength of celebrity admiration over the past two decades. Using archival methods, we gathered data from 35 studies (2001-2021) that included US participants who completed the Celebrity Attitude Scale. We established objective criteria for determining the proportion of participants from each study who qualified as "celebrity worshippers." Our results indicate that celebrity worship increased dramatically from 2001 to the present. The implications of increases in celebrity worship are important, given research showing that high levels of celebrity worship are often associated with undesirable attitudes and behaviors, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive thoughts, suicide attempts, excessive gambling, disordered eating patterns, and difficulty maintaining intimate relationships.
... Finding a tendency for a greater degree of conspiratorial belief, across different facets of the GCB, in individuals who tend to score higher on the CAS-IP subscale (tendency to demonstrate intense and compulsive, sometimes obsessive feelings toward a favorite celebrity) is consistent with IP subscale findings in prior studies. Specifically, Maltby et al. (2003) indicated individuals who tend to score high on the CAS-IP subscale tend to also demonstrate overall poor mental health. Thus, one avenue for future research could be to further explore the relationship between attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs of individuals who have an intense-personal celebrity connection and their belief in conspiracy theories. ...
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Vaccinations, conspiracy theories, and celebrities are all popular topics in contemporary society. Anti-vaccination attitudes and conspiratorial beliefs, especially, have emerged as more prevalent against the backdrop of the 2020 election and Covid-19 pandemic. Martinez-Berman et al. (2020), collected data on these topics prior to the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and found a positive relationship between anti-vaccination attitudes and celebrity admiration. Further, there were positive relationships between conspiratorial beliefs and dimensions of celebrity admiration. In this study, we replicated and extended this work to a university-aged sample, to document anti-vaccination attitudes and conspiratorial beliefs at a different time of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to conduct a validity check of the single-item Belief in Conspiracy Theories scale with a more sophisticated measure of conspiratorial belief, the General Conspiratorial Belief (GCB) scale. We discovered overall attitudes toward vaccinations to be similar to those in the prior study. However, participants in our study reported lower mistrust of vaccinations and greater concern for future effects of vaccinations than participants in the previous study. In contrast to the results of the prior study, we found that interest in celebrities was not a significant predictor of vaccination attitudes. We discussed the results in the context of the replication and extension nature of the project and present goals for future research into the relationships among the key variables.
... A review of the literature on idol worship shows that in many studies, idol worship is related to negative personality traits, characteristics, and pathology (Jenson, 1992;Maltby et al., 2003). However, idol worship has shown some beneficial effects, especially in the role-building, the increase of empathy and interpersonal relationship, and the formation of identity (Chin and Nee, 2018). ...
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This study focuses on the idol worship experiences of 15 Chinese college students, in order to in order to identify the factors motivating idol worship, the meanings and impact gained from the worship experience. 15 college students who identified themselves as idol worshipers were interviewed. Thematic analysis revealed the participants’ understanding of idol worship from three aspects: the way of idol worship, the role model of idols and the significance of idol worship. Three main factors that influenced participants to become idol worshipers were found: the need of self-development and the personal characteristics of idols. In addition, the themes that appeared to describe the influence of idol worship perceived by participants included emotions, life goals, spiritual support, personality, behavior and relationships with others. Generally, college students do not think there is a negative impact of their worship experiences. This study also reveals insights into how idols can play an important role by inspiring young generation in a positive way.
... This third level is believed to reflect an individual's borderline pathological attitudes and behaviors toward a favorite celebrity. In most studies, the second and third levels were associated with problematic behavior [17,18]. ...
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