I’ll Have What She’s Having: Parasocial Communication via Social Media Influences on Risk Behavior

Erika Katherine Johnson, Kathrin Rothermich, Heather Shoenberger


Frequently people we interact with on social media influence decisions we make in daily life. This study explored the connection between parasocial interaction and imitative buying intentions in blog media space. Using a 2 (Stance: Anti, Pro) X 4 (Risk Behavior: Drinking, E-Cigarette, Product, Control) X 2 (Order) mixed factorial design experiment (N = 63), we focused on the influence of parasocial interaction (PSI) with a blogger on intent to buy products used in a blog post among young women. The research found that those with higher PSI reported greater purchase intention for alcohol than those with lower PSI toward the blogger in the study. These results suggest PSI in social media spaces like blogging can be used to covertly encourage healthy behaviors.


Parasocial interaction, bloggers, experiment, risky behaviors, health communication

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