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A CLINICAL INTERPRETATION OF ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS ASSOCIATED WITH CELEBRITY WORSHIP

MALTBY, JOHN Ph.D.1; HOURAN, JAMES M.A.2 3; MCCUTCHEON, LYNN E. Ed.D.4

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: January 2003 - Volume 191 - Issue 1 - p 25-29
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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.

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, Springfield, 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, Orlando, Florida.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.