Parasocial Relationships: Examining Viewers' Connections with Characters in Television Series
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The purpose of this study was to compare participants’ parasocial relationships (PSRs) with characters in scripted television series and celebrities in reality television series and examine the role of gender in PSRs. It also evaluated the impact of binge-watching compared to watching on a weekly basis. Results indicate binge-watching strengthens PSRs between viewers and characters or celebrities in television series. In addition, viewers indicate stronger PSRs with characters in scripted television series compared to those with celebrities in reality television series. This study also found viewers are more likely to interact with scripted television series on social media. Moreover, males indicate stronger PSRs with their favorite characters or celebrities compared to females, and the gender of a viewer is positively correlated with the gender of their favorite character or celebrity. This study also indicates viewers who enjoy and appreciate a television series demonstrate stronger PSRs with its characters or celebrities.