Summary: The study reveals specific factors, including boredom and threats of harm, that were associated with an increased likelihood of a person becoming a celebrity stalker. Those who admire celebrities based on their ability to entertain alone are less likely to become a stalker.
A survey of American college students provides new insight into factors related to the tendency to engage in celebrity pursuit.
Maria Wong (Idaho State University, USA), Lynn McCutcheon (North American Journal of Psychology, USA), Joshua Rodefer (Mercer University, USA) and Kenneth Carter (Emory University, USA) present these findings in the open access journal PLUS ONE 1 March 2023.
Celebrities around the world deal with the threat of unwanted and threatening or intimidating attention or harassment – commonly known as stalking. A growing body of research explores and identifies factors that are associated with the tendency to pursue or tolerate celebrity pursuit behavior from others.
To help improve understanding of celebrity stalking, Wong, McCutcheon, Rodefer, and Carter presented a series of questionnaires to 596 American college students. A few of the questionnaires had been developed in previous studies to measure people’s attitudes and behavior – including stalking behavior – towards celebrities. Other questionnaires measured factors thought to be associated with celebrity pursuit, such as anger, thrill seeking, and relationship attachment styles.
Statistical analysis of the students’ responses revealed certain factors that were associated with a greater likelihood of a person engaging in celebrity stalking. These include having frequent personal thoughts about a favorite celebrity, feeling driven to learn more about them, persistently pursuing them, threatening to harm them, and being prone to boredom.
Anger, thrill seeking, and relational attachment styles were not associated with a greater likelihood of engaging in celebrity stalking.
The analysis also showed that people were less likely to engage in celebrity stalking if their admiration for a favorite celebrity was based almost entirely on the celebrity’s ability to entertain.
These findings are in line with results from previous studies on celebrity stalking and provide new insight into what can distinguish a fan from a celebrity stalker.
The authors add, “Individuals who think about their favorite celebrity frequently, feel compelled to learn more about them, pursue them consistently, threaten to harm them, and are prone to boredom are more likely to pursue their celebrity.”
About this psychology research news
Author: Hanna Abdallah
Contact: Hanna Abdallah – PLOS
Picture: The image is in the public domain
Original research: Open access.
“Predicting Celebrity Stalking from Measures of Persistence and Celebrity Threat, Sensation Seeking, and Celebrity Worship” by Lynn McCutcheon et al. PLUS ONE
Predicting celebrity stalking from measures of persistent stalking and threat directed at celebrities, sensation seeking, and celebrity worship
The stalking of celebrities is a serious problem for thousands of celebrities around the world who are occasionally confronted by fans who deserve the label “fanatic”.
We administered measures of unpleasant celebrity stalking, celebrity worship, celebrity pursuit, celebrity threats, boredom, disinhibition, experience seeking, excitement and adventure seeking, relationship styles, and anger to 596 college students from the United States. We developed a model. consisting of all but the latter five measures that successfully predicted actual unpleasant celebrity stalking behavior.
Our results partially replicate previous research and present some new findings. Individuals who often have personal thoughts about their favorite celebrity, feel compelled to learn more about them, pursue them consistently, threaten to harm them, and are prone to boredom were more likely to engage in celebrity stalking.
Controlling for these predictors, individuals who admire their favorite celebrity almost exclusively for their ability to entertain were less likely to engage in celebrity stalking.