Title page for ETD etd-11102011-154243

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Henry, Nicole Webb
Author's Email Address nhenry2@lsu.edu
URN etd-11102011-154243
Title Celebrity Versus Non-Celebrity: Parasocial Relationships with Characters in Reality-Based Television Programs
Degree Master of Mass Communication (M.M.C.)
Department Mass Communication
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sanders, Meghan Committee Chair
Izard, Ralph Committee Member
Sullivan, Jas Committee Member
  • reality television
  • parasocial relationships
  • moral disengagement
Date of Defense 2011-11-02
Availability unrestricted
Research of parasocial relationships suggests that audiences engage in one-sided relationships with their favorite personae in the media. This study attempts to explore two types of reality stars: those who had fame before being on reality television and those who have fame because of the show. Using the PSR-Processing Scale, I compared levels of parasocial interactions for each, as well how moral disengagement might play a role for each type of reality star. I also explored whether these parasocial relationships are influenced by the frequency with which respondents watch various types of sub-genres of reality-based programs (i.e. game docs, dating shows, documentary soap operas). To measure levels of parasocial relationships, moral disengagement, media consumption, and reality television viewing habits, I administered an online survey to 244 students at a large southern university. Results show that respondentsí parasocial relationships and degree of moral disengagement with their favorite celebrity and non-celebrity on reality shows are influenced by the type of sub-genres of the reality-based programs (i.e. game docs, dating shows, documentary soap operas).
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