The Development of Parasocial Interaction Relationships on YouTube
Keywords:Parasocial interaction, new media, YouTube, attraction
Continuing research on the development of parasocial relationships, the present study modernized a seminal study conducted by Rubin and McHugh (1987) investigating the relationship among communication, liking, and intimacy in forming a relationship with a television character. This study applied this research to the YouTube video sharing platform to see if such a relationship was evident on social media. Results of a structural equation model closely replicate the original findings, and confirmed that exposure to YouTube predicted both social and physical attraction. This attraction was related to parasocial relationship formation, which then positively increased the relational importance. Overall, the results provide justification for extending the theoretical expectations of parasocial interaction to the YouTube context.
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