Social media habits but not social interaction anxiety predict parasocial relationships

Corinne P. Tatem, Joanne Ingram*

*Corresponding author for this work

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With the rise in accessibility of media personae and celebrities through social media sites, parasocial relationships (PSRs) can offer a meaningful alternative for individuals who experience obstacles in forming real-life relationships. Existing research suggests that PSRs are multidimensional. Building on this, we considered how social media and social anxiety factors relate to the dimensions of PSRs. We examine whether social media engagement, social media addiction, and social interaction anxiety predict parasocial-love and parasocial-friendship. Participants (N = 239) responded to a questionnaire assessing multiple elements of PSRs, social interaction anxiety, social media engagement, and social media addiction. Results revealed social media addiction to be a significant predictor of parasocial-friendship and emotional aspects of parasocial-love. However, physical aspects of the parasocial-love were predicted by social media engagement. Social interaction anxiety was only associated with aspects of parasocial-love but did not predict this type of PSR. These findings suggest that developing a PSR may be strongly linked to social media use and foster social media addiction, whilst face-to-face social interaction anxiety may be less relevant to PSRs with celebrities. The current results also support the suggestion that PSRs with media personalities are multifaceted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-211
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Psychology Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2022


  • parasocial
  • social media
  • socia media addiction
  • social interaction anxiety
  • celebrity


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