Parasocial and Social Interactions with Celebrities

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Parasocial and Social Interactions with Celebrities

Parasocial and Social Interaction with Celebrities:

Classification of Media Fans

Gayle S. Stever, Ph.D.

Arizona State University at the Polytechnic

Online Publication Date: July 10, 2009

Journal of Media Psychology, Volume 14, No. 3, Summer, 2009


This study developed a system of celebrity fan classification that addresses issues raised in the literature with regard to motivations for becoming a fan, and levels of intensity for fans, recognizing a dichotomy of interactive vs. isolated fans. There is a need to differentiate the fan suffering from pathologies from fans who are healthy and who lead normal and productive lives. This system of classification is based on 20 years of participant observation in various fan communities. Nine motivations (task, romantic, identification, and others) and five levels are described as the result of qualitative content analysis of documents written by 150 fans who answered the question “Why are you a fan of your favorite celebrity?” This system was developed after study of specific celebrities and their fans. As such it may not apply to fans of texts, genres, or cultural phenomena. While some fans were found to have very intense and obsessive interests in celebrities, a large subgroup of fans were in a less obsessive and more socially motivated category of fan, one motivated by interest in the work of the celebrity and in the potential for networking with other fans. Extremely obsessive or high level fans have the potential to do harm to both their celebrity objects or, more frequently, to themselves, but these high level fans are only a small percentage of the people who identify themselves as dedicated fans of a celebrity. Identifying specific fans who have the potential to be troublesome would be more efficient than assuming that all dedicated fans have this potential.

People who are principally known through mass media are playing a greater role in the lives of media consumers. At least 50 years ago, the term “fan” was used to describe someone who had a connection to a media personality or phenomenon. The word derives from “fanatic,” but in common use the term “fan” describes a range of interest from the casual follower to the obsessed person. Social science researchers have tried to describe the interpersonal impact of relationships with media celebrities. Although literature in the various social sciences has discussed fans, there have only been the most basic of classification systems used when discussing and analyzing fans. Tulloch & Jenkins (1995) distinguish between the follower and the fan. Fans claim social identity with a fan group while followers (i.e. consistent watchers or listeners) do not. Kozinets (2001) made a similar distinction. Hills (2002) used the term “cult fan” in deference to genres that embrace that term. Because terms like “cult” and “fan” are contested, both inside of academe and outside, rigorous definitions are difficult.

The principal goal of this article is to present a system of classification of fans of specific celebrities. This system has a number of potential uses. Mental health counselors could use it to help determine if a client’s interest in a celebrity is problematic. Researchers could use the system in discussions of fans in the context of the growing literature on celebrity worship (Maltby et al, 2004).

Data have been collected on fans of specific Star Trek actors, e.g. Alexander Siddig or Nana Visitor, but not on generic Star Trek fans. This study recognizes that the motivations for attachment to a single celebrity can be very different from motivations for interest in a genre (i.e. science fiction) or media text (i.e. Lord of the Rings). Sandvoss (2005) pointed out the need for more studies of fans of individual performers, noting that studies of such fans have to date played a secondary role in discourses on fandom.

Researchers from various disciplines all begin their reviews with Horton and Wohl (1956), who described relationships that media consumers developed with television personalities that had become intimate visitors in private living rooms. People could get to know someone who wasn’t “really there” in the privacy of their own homes. It was possible to learn the body language, facial expressions and other habits of complete strangers. Horton and Wohl recognized the implication for this new kind of social activity and called it parasocial interaction. They discussed talk show hosts who sit with their guests in a circular configuration that includes the viewer, suggesting an intimate setting. Thus the discussion of “intimacy at a distance” began, a discussion that continues today in the context of television, movies, popular music, and most recently, the Internet.

The presence of media fans and communities of fans has been pervasive in American culture for at least half a century. However there has never been a comprehensive system developed for classifying fans that recognizes distinctions among levels of involvement or motivations for forming attachments to celebrities. Allen (1992) suggested that we don’t have a very good understanding of the nature of our relationships with media figures. Since then, meanings that viewers extract from media have only begun to get research attention, and understanding of the parasocial domain is also limited. Giles (2002) suggested the need for further descriptive research about parasocial interaction and recommended ethnographic research, “particularly as a means of examining the meaning of parasocial relationships for media users,” (p. 298) also pointing out the need to “identify the points of departure between ordinary fandom and delusional behavior” (p. 300). This paper describes a classification system that addresses issues raised in previous literature, building on models that already exist (Caughey, 1978; Kozinets, 2001; Rubin & McHugh, 1987; Stever, 1991a; Stever, 1994b).

The Literature

Parasocial interaction was defined as a one-way relationship to a person, most often of higher status, whom you know intimately but who hardly knows you, if at all. Although Horton and Wohl’s (1956) paper presented new concepts, early empirical research was not done. Television was in its infancy and the full scope and range of its influence was still being explored in other ways. It was not until the late 1970’s that citations for “parasocial interaction” emerged again in the literature. Levy’s (1979) study looked at viewers’ reactions to newscasters. One of the key findings was that, contrary to classic research (Lazarsfeld, Berelson & Gaudent, 1948) on opinion leadership, it was possible for media figures to double as opinion leaders. This was one of the first studies to suggest a specific way a media persona could fulfill a role previously taken only by an interpersonal communicator. Further research looked at the ways parasocial interaction imitated ordinary interaction. Researchers were interested in viewers’ expectancies and also ways of using media to meet their own needs (Babrow, 1987; Perse & Rubin, 1990; Rubin & McHugh, 1987; Rubin, Perse & Powell, 1985; Rubin & Rubin, 1985)

Parasocial interaction is not something unique to modern mass media society (Caughey, 1984). In the past, parasocial interactions were carried out between readers and fictional protagonists, citizens and major political figures, or even individuals with gods or spirits. Giles (2002) further explained that parasocial interaction and attachment could take place with real persons, fictional characters or even cartoon characters. The term “parasocial interaction” described the imaginary relationship between media users and media figures (from celebrities to fictional characters). While the term initially referred to television personalities, it has expanded to include other domains of mass media. Research has explored parasocial interaction with soap opera stars (Rubin & Perse, 1987), television shopping hosts (Grant, Guthrie, & Ball-Rokeach, 1991), and more generally, celebrities of all types (Conway & Rubin, 1991; Rubin & McHugh, 1987; Reeves & Naas 1996; Turner 1993).

The earlier notion that viewers were passive recipients of media messages was challenged by uses and gratifications theory, which proposed that people are goal directed in their behavior, are active media users, and are aware of their needs, and select media to gratify those needs (Rubin & McHugh, 1987). People use media relationships to relieve boredom, fight loneliness, or give focus and direction to their lives. They look for romance, understanding, inspiration, communion, and identity, meeting these needs through mediated relationships.

More recent research in the area of popular communication suggested that fans’ tastes are tied to a class system in the wider structure of society that rewards certain kinds of media consumption while disdaining others. In such a structure, fans of popular musicians or television programming (i.e. science fiction, soap operas) are “less than” fans of opera, classical music or classical theater (Gray, Sandvoss & Harrington, 2007). Such a focus has moved away somewhat from what motivates individual consumers and towards a more sociological perspective on motivation. However Sandvoss (2005) argued that fandom provides a place for self-reflection for the purpose of “shaping one’s identity and place in the world” (p. 154).

These researchers recognized that for many fans, the investment is emotional on the part of the individual. They also stressed the important point that in the twenty-first century, most experiences of the larger world in general are mediated. It thus becomes crucial to understand the ways media engage our emotions and cause us to form emotional bonds with those met through media (Gray, Sandvoss, & Harrington, 2007). .

In anthropology and sociology, researchers discussed the ways that celebrities as icons affect our culture and how individuals view those icons (Altheide & Snow, 1991; Browne & Fishwicke, 1978; Schickel, 1985). A synonym for parasocial interaction was imaginary social relationships (Caughey, 1978, 1984). Caughey concluded, “The basis of most fan relationships is not an esthetic appreciation but a social relationship. Fans have attachments to unmet media figures that are analogous to and in many ways directly parallel to actual social relationships…” (1984, p. 40).

Within developmental psychology, being a fan plays a part in identity formation for adolescents (Boon & Lomare, 2001; Giles & Maltby, 2003; Greene & Adams-Price, 1990; Le Bart, 2004). Adams-Price and Greene (1990) discussed “secondary attachment” a viewer forms to a media figure, secondary because the real person is not the object of the attachment. Fans construct their own idealized internal representations of the object, and become attached to this persona. This is a normal part of adolescent development.

Caughey (1988) paralleled the process of adolescent identity formation to the process by which novelists develop fictional characters, taking on their fictional identities and becoming those fictional beings, as one becomes the emulated hero or heroine.

Some research has emphasized the negative associations with being a fan. Focus is on the fan as a lonely person, a social isolate, pursuing parasocial gratification in their individual homes (Annese, 2004; Canary & Spitzberg, 1993; Chorey-Assad & Yanen, 2005; Cohen, 2003; Green et al. 2004; Hoffner and Buchanan, 2005; Papa et al., 2000; Rubin, 2000; Schiappa, et al., 2005; Sood & Rogers, 2000). The isolated fan meets his or her social needs through imaginary interaction. In contrast, the bulk of activity for some fans is conducted within a community (Halnon, 2006; Kozinets, 2001; Williams, 1995). Ferris (2001) concurred stating “none of the respondents had the profile of a social isolate” (p. 29). It is an implicit assumption in most of this work that the fan never meets the celebrity and that most “interaction” is secondary or on a fantasy level.

However, Harrington and Bielby’s (1995) work described in detail the real-life relationships that soap opera fans of the 1980’s and 1990’s formed with actors. It was not uncommon for fans to meet and become friends with celebrities in this context, a phenomenon observed in work on Star Trek and other media fans (Stever, 1994). Indeed fans of Lord of the Rings gained access to movie sets and insider information via relationships with people like Peter Jackson (director of the three films) and various Lord of the Rings producers and actors (Thompson, 2007).

Some research focused on the pathological end of the spectrum with respect to fans, referring to such interest as “celebrity worship,” and using terms like “idolatry” and “erotomania” to describe participants. This work dealt with the unhealthy end of the spectrum of fan behavior, discussing fandom as a pathology (e.g., Ashe et al., 2005; Houran, et al., 2005; Maltby et al., 2006; Maltby et al., 2004; Maltby et al., 2005; Maltby et al., 2002; Maltby et al., 2001; McCarley & Escoto, 2003). One of the complex issues that all researchers face is sorting out normal fan behavior from pathological fan behavior (Dietz, 1991; Leets et al., 1995; Ferris, 2001). Ironically, in this literature, the first level of “celebrity worship” begins when the fan seeks out social interaction with other fans, with the other two levels presuming escalating levels of loss of touch with reality. A weakness in this literature is the absence of a conceptual definition for “celebrity worship” and also the persistent use of samples of convenience (i.e. available student and community populations) rather than samples of fans.

An outspoken scholar against the pathologizing of fans is Jenkins (Giles, 2000; Jenkins, 1992). Jenkins sees fan activity as one way of opposing the media’s power to set the cultural and expressive agenda for our era. Fans, by redefining popular media through fiction, artwork, videos and other forms of expression, are attempting to make mass media a more democratic representation of our culture. As the tools of media become more sophisticated while less expensive, fans become more able to participate in the creative process through the writing of their own stories using media characters. The emphasis in the work of Jenkins (1992),Bacon-Smith (1992) and Penley (1991) is on these alternative forms of expression for fans, most notably the writing of fan fiction.

Fan communities can be a positive influence on members. Halnon (2006) used the metaphor of the carnival to suggest a parallel with heavy metal. She concluded, “Heavy metal carnival challenges, exposes, and transcends the limits between body and world, interior and exterior, and life and death” (p.43). The fan community is an experience of rebirth and energy. Kortarba (1994) had similar conclusions and said “…Metallica serves as a primary cultural resource for many of its audience members. This cultural resource provides viable meanings for life, its problems and its possibilities” (p. 142). Research on The Grateful Dead (Adams & Sardiello, 2000) addressed some of the qualities of the Deadhead community as it related to themes in that fan community. There was much emphasis on the spiritual and community aspects of being a fan. In a dissertation on Led Zepplin fans, Williams (1995) collected data from 46 fans and provided a discussion of the impact of the fan community on its members. One fan reported, “When I think of other Led Zepplin fans, I think of them as a family…. We all help each other….These are the friends I correspond with very regularly and most of them are very special to me” (p.130). Harrington and Bielby (1995) concluded “connecting with other fans and sharing viewing experiences is vital to both the social construction of shared meanings and to the persistence of long-term viewing patterns” (p. 47).

The work of sociologist Ferris (2001, 2004, 2005) emphasized fans who behaved like stalkers in contrast with fans who understood unwritten rules about encountering celebrities in the private realm of their lives (i.e., not at a public appearance). Fans are in search of mutuality with favorite celebrities, sometimes knowing how to go about that, but sometimes doing inappropriate things. Fans live in fear of being perceived as a stalker in today’s social climate of suspicion. Which behaviors qualify for stalking and which do not is an area that needs further exploration.

Some limited attempts at fan classification have been made. Several articles classify three main motivations for parasocial attachment: physical attraction, social attraction and task attraction (Caughey, 1978; Rubin & McHugh, 1987; Stever, 1991a). Kozinets (2001) argued that fans should be classified into categories that he called fans and consumers. Consumers are the more passive recipients of the media product while fans are part of a more active fan subculture “linked to the preexisting groups of speculative fiction fans, i.e., fans of fantasy and science fiction” (p. 71). While these categories are useful, they are not comprehensive in describing types of fans.

Parasocial interaction is, by definition, a one-way interaction. However Bandura (2002) pointed out that human behavior is shaped by “triadic reciprocal causation” rather than unidimensional causation where behavior is only shaped by the either the environment or by internal dispositions (p. 121). Triadic reciprocal causation, based on Bandura’s model of reciprocal determinism, outlines a three way interactive model between a person, his or her social environment and his or her own behavior. In such a model, the person is affected by the response of others in the environment, in this case the celebrity. Triadic reciprocal causation recognizes that the other person is also affected and changed by the interaction and the process is reflexive.

Consequently when considering the effect that celebrities have on the public, the present research suggests that these effects can be reciprocal and dialogical between the celebrity and his or her followers. Past studies of fan behavior have considered the relationship between fans and celebrities in a one-way fashion, overlooking the interactive nature of communication between celebrities and fans. This oversight is particularly significant when considering the Internet and its impact on the way celebrities interact with and reach out to the public using things like MySpace pages, personal websites, and blogs. Often celebrities seek out and want to meet fans, but most current research doesn’t address that situation. The assumption that interaction with celebrities is mostly parasocial is one that needs to be called into question. A number of studies have proceeded under this assumption (Adams-Price & Greene, 1990; Caughey, 1984; Leets, de Becker & Giles, 1995). However, fans who are active in fan communities very often have met the fan club honorees. The interactive nature of recent Internet developments for social networking between celebrities and fans, things like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, adds to the implications of the discussion on levels of fans. The proposed classification system attempts to demonstrate the complexity of fan behavior and its reflexive nature by differentiating fans that interact from those who do not.



Research conducted from 1988 through the present supports the proposed classification system (Stever, 2008, 1995, 1994a, 1994b, 1991a, 1991b). An analysis of written fan narratives (Stever, 1994b) forms the core of the system while researcher observations, field notes, and subsequent interviews with a wide variety of fans were used for validation and elaboration of the system. The researcher chose each sampled fan group based on who the high profile popular celebrities were for that time. In each case key informants were sought out for that group. For Madonna, Springsteen, Prince, and George Michael, fans were contacted through ads in magazines like Black Beat and Rolling Stone. Initial participants were generous with their mailing lists. Lists were obtained for 60 Madonna fans, 65 Springsteen fans, 65 Prince fans, and 40 George Michael fans. Each fan was sent a set of questionnaires that included the Celebrity Appeal Questionnaire (Stever, 1991) and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (Stever, 1995). Each fan was also asked to write a narrative explaining what being a fan meant to that person’s life. It is worth noting that 100% of these fans sent back their questionnaires and many of them also wrote narratives. Narratives that spoke to the issue of motivation for being a fan were included in the analysis of documents mentioned below.

This research used grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). Content analysis is frequently used in grounded theory to analyze qualitative data, including texts. This form of analysis searches for themes, ideas, words, images, or meanings that have been expressed within the data. Both ethnographic content analysis (ECA) and qualitative content analysis (QCA) were used to verify relationships between data and concepts that describe that data (Altheide, 1987). Beginning with a Grounded Theory construction of coding categories using constant comparative method, these were used in the subsequent content analysis of the data collected from fans. These concepts described the meanings that parasocial relationships could have for participants, and were found in the research literature and in the documents and early interviews with fans to explain the meanings that these relationships had for them. The coding protocol was developed based on this analysis using ECA. The investigator read documents from participants, developed themes or concepts that explained those documents, and then read more documents to see if current themes reoccurred or new ones emerged.


The objective was to describe the meanings that participants find in parasocial relationships, so participants were selected if they self-reported involvement in such relationships. The sample for this study was selected based on theoretically-driven behavioral criteria associated with fans and parasocial interactions. Participants were included in the study if they engaged in more than one of these behavioral criteria:

  1. Wrote letters to celebrities;

  2. Attended events where fans gathered and there was access to celebrities;

  3. Were members of a fan club;

  4. Extensive memorabilia collections reflected an interest in a single celebrity.

IRB human subjects approval for this study was received. Participants were asked “Why are you such a big fan of X?” and “What meaning has your relationship with X had in your life?” Responses ranged in length from a short paragraph to 14 pages. Each document represented the fan’s description of motivations for attachment to the object. Most documents were letters. Letters were retyped, eliminating identifying information. Each document was headed by demographic information about the subject including gender, age, ethnicity, and nationality. Marital status was included if available. The sample for this study was comprised of 104 females and 46 males (Stever, 1994b).

For the collection of these documents and also for subsequent data collection, participants were found in fan communities of pop stars and science fiction shows at events where fans had gathered and these events included 70 science fiction conventions, 65 pop star concerts (including14 for Michael Jackson, 6 for Madonna, 4 for Janet Jackson, and 31 for Josh Groban), an additional dozen charity events, and a dozen media events like the American Music Awards, Soul Train Awards, or Good Morning America tapings. The researcher traveled to 25 US states plus Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, Wales, and Germany to attend fan events, such as Beatlefest, Michaelfest, Star Trek conventions, and local club gatherings.


The QCA of the data followed a process whereby coders were instructed in how to code the documents. Their reactions to the documents were quantified in order to generate descriptive statistics for the categories. Five coders were used, two men and three women, ranging in age from 37-46. All were white middle-class residents of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. They represented somewhat diverse educational and professional backgrounds (i.e. they were not all psychology graduate students). Coder #1 was a white married female age 42 with an AA degree. Coder #2 was a white married female age 46 who was a doctoral candidate. Coder #3 was a white married male, age 47 with an MBA. Coder #4 was a white married male, age 37 with a B.A. Coder #5 was a white divorced female, age 44 who was also a doctoral candidate.

Raters were asked to use two coding classification systems on these documents, both developed by the researcher after constant comparative analysis of the overall data. Tables 1 and 2 present these coding systems. Coders were trained on these categories, rating sample documents to insure that they were interpreting them consistently. Using Wright’s (1967) formula, an inter-rater reliability was computed for the coders using all of the ratings from the first round of coding in the computation. The overall consistency coefficient for the coders was .78. Two coders coded each document. If there was disagreement between the two coders, a third was used for that document. The “maybe” column on Table 1 represents instances where two coders disagreed and the third coder was used.

Table 1: Incidence of Each Category for All Participants (N=150)




Task Attraction

120 (80%)

13 (9%)

17 (11%)

Romantic Attraction

58 (39%)

19 (13%)

73 (49%)

Identification A

42 (28%)

28 (19%)

80 (53%)

Identification B

28 (19%)

20 (13%)

102 (68%)


19 (13%)

14 (9%)

118 (79%)


10 (7%)

5 (3%)

135 (90%)

Hero Worship

84 (56%)

34 (23%)

32 (21%)


50 (33%)

38 (25%)

62 (41%)


15 (10%)

17 (11%)

118 (79%)

Since 1988, field notes and interviews were kept and analyzed using QCA. Early fan groups (of pop stars) have already been indicated. Subsequent fan groups included Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Josh Groban and others. Conclusions about isolated vs. interactive fans are taken from these data.

The classification system described herein has three parts. Each part will be described separately and then the three parts will be used together in examples.

Part One: Levels of Intensity

Coders rated the documents for levels of intensity using codes presented in Table 2 describing each level. Inter-rater reliability for these levels was included in the computation of the correlation coefficient already reported above (r=.78). Five levels (4 through 8) were used (levels 1-3 were not used in this study since individuals at these levels did not meet the criteria for this study). Overall findings showed that, grouping the levels into low intensity fans (levels 4 and 5) and high intensity fans (levels 6, 7, and 8), females in the sample were of higher intensity than males (Chi Square=12.901; p< .0003). There was no age affect for intensity (Chi Square= .006; p< .9998).

Table 2: Levels of Fan Intensity:



*Level 1

Negative interest in the star. Is an “anti-fan.”

*Level 2

No interest in stars or in being a fan of anyone.

*Level 3

Average interest in celebrities but without any clear interest

in any individual or individuals.

Level 4

Above average interest in stars or media without the emphasis

on one particular star. Obviously a media fan but not a specific

fan of one individual.

Level 5

Interest in a star or small group of stars to the exclusion of

Others but interest is limited to the stars’ work (not the

Stars as people).

Level 6

Interpersonal interest in star that exacts considerable cost to

The fan in time, money and effort to follow the star. In spite

Of this cost, interest is not obsessive and does not chronically

Interfere in daily life.

Level 7

Obsessive interest in the star to the point where the interest

Intrudes on the everyday reality of the fan. High functioning

In everyday life in spite of the obsession (has a job, family

Etc. and meets obligations in this area).

Level 8

Interest is clearly pathological in that it affects the fan’s health

In a negative way, prompts occasional (or chronic) suicidal

Ideation, or in some other way is clearly not in the best interests

Of the fan. Interferes with the pursuit of normal employment

And/or family and significant relationships.

* For reference only. Only people levels 4 and higher were included in this study. For purposes of analysis and discussion, fans were grouped into “Low intensity” (level 4 and 5) and “High intensity” (level 6, 7 and 8).

Part Two: Motivations for Parasocial Interaction

Fans had three main motivations for being attracted to celebrities, most commonly referred to as social, physical, and task motivations (Rubin & McHugh, 1987; Stever 1991a). For this analysis, social motivation is renamed as identificatory attachment and broken into two categories, one where “the celebrity is like me,” and one where “I want to be like the celebrity.” Hoffner and Buchanan (2005) called this second type “wishful identification.” Bandura (1986) called it role modeling. Because these concepts are found in many different places in the literature of different disciplines, there is an absence of uniformity in the terms being used, making them hard to identify and pull into a comprehensive theory.

In addition to three main categories, other categories emerged in the analysis, including filial attachment, the interest in the target as a potential friend or family member, a category also suggested by the work of Adams-Price & Greene (1990). Their classification included “be the celebrity’s friend” and “be the celebrity’s family member.” Also identified was the desire to be the celebrity’s coworker. In addition, classical attachment theory was applied so that “infantile attachment” was the belief that the celebrity could fulfill some need for the fan while “parental attachment” was the belief that the fan could fulfill some need for the celebrity. Hero Worship was also coded as described in Table 3.

Table 3: Motivations for Parasocial Attraction:

Key Words


Task Attraction

Talented, Musical, Creative, Artistic, Entertainer, Expressive

Shows clear attraction based

on the target’s talents and capabilities in his/ her chosen field.

Romantic Attachment

Sexy, Good Looking, Attractive

Appealing, Well-dressed, Strong, Athletic

Shows clear attraction based on the target’s physical characteristics or potential as a romantic partner. References are made to a relationship, marriage, sexual and/or physical attractiveness or other indicators of interest in a personal relationship.

Identificatory Attachment A

Role Model, honest, generous, caring, wise, religious etc.

Wants to be like the celebrity.

Identificatory Attachment B

Relates target to self

The celebrity is like me.

Filial Attachment

Friend, brother, family etc.

Interest in the target as a friend or potential family member in a context that is clearly not romantic.

Coworker Attachment

Collaborate, co-worker etc.

Wanting to be the target’s collaborator or co-worker and be involved in creative endeavors together.

Hero Worship

Legend, larger than life etc.

The target has heroic status including discussions of the target as a legend, being more than just an ordinary person.

Infantile Attachment

Powerful, over others, meets needs

Celebrity is fulfilling unmet needs in the fan’s life. Dependent on for those needs

Parental Attachment

Protective, nurture etc.

Fan is protective and nurturing or otherwise parental towards the celebrity.

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