An Examination of Young Undergraduates’ Celebrity-related Media Use and Involvement with Celebrities
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
Related Research Unit(s)
Involvement with celebrities has become a global trend and produced profound impacts on young people nowadays. This dissertation systematically explicates the concept of involvement with celebrities and examines the relations between media use and involvement with celebrities in two studies (i.e., one survey study and one experiment study). The framework used for the two studies is based on “O-S-O-R” (Orientation-Stimulus-Orientation-Response) model. Considering the prosperity of Hong Kong media industry and high involvement with celebrities among Hong Kong young people, both two studies select Hong Kong as a locale. The survey study explores the components of involvement with celebrities, examines the direct and indirect media influences on young people’s involvement with celebrities, and investigates the consequent influences of involvement with celebrities on two types of young people’s life values (i.e., materialism and achievement). Results suggest that involvement with celebrities is a multi-dimensional concept and generally encapsulates cognitive (i.e., subjective knowledge and objective knowledge), affective (i.e., parasocial relationship, borderline-pathological obsession, and wishful identification), and behavioral (i.e., commodification) components. The survey data also confirm the direct media influences, the indirect influences through the mediation of interpersonal discussion about celebrities, and the consequent influences of involvement with celebrities on materialism and achievement values. The experiment study examines both the immediate and the cumulative influences of different types of SNS use (i.e., consuming use, participating use, and contributing use) on involvement with one celebrity. Results reveal that different uses of the celebrity’s SNS produce an immediate influence on involvement with celebrity through the mediating role of users’ perceived social presence of the celebrity and elicit a cumulative influence on involvement with celebrity by encouraging self-initiated online media exposure to the celebrity. Theoretical and practical implications, limitations and suggestions for future research will be discussed as well.