People can develop close relationships with media figures viewed on TV. Across two studies we examined the extent to which satisfaction with, alternatives to, and investments in such parasocial relationships (PSR) account for feelings of commitment toward favored TV characters. In Study 1, satisfaction and investments positively predicted commitment to fictional TV characters, whereas the alternative of not following any TV character negatively predicted commitment to the PSR. In Study 2, we tested the bases of the investment model as predictors of commitment to fictional (e.g., Homer Simpson) versus nonfictional (e.g., Oprah Winfrey) TV characters. As in Study 1, for both fictional and nonfictional characters, commitment level was significantly predicted by levels of satisfaction and investments. However, the alternative of not following any character was significantly associated with commitment only for fictional characters. Results support the use of the investment model to understand processes underlying PSRs.
parasocial relationships, interdependence, romantic relationships
Date of this Version
Branch, Sara E.; Wilson, Kari M.; and Agnew, Christopher R., "Committed to Oprah, Homer, or House: Using the Investment Model to Understand Parasocial Relationships" (2013). Department of Psychological Sciences Faculty Publications. Paper 63.