Parasocial Romantic Relationships: Falling in Love with Media Figures explores how, why, and to what effect individuals develop romantic feelings toward people they “know” from the media. These imaginary, one-sided relationships, dubbed parasocial romantic relationships, are both profound and pervasive, Riva Tukachinsky Forster argues. These relationships can take many forms, including adolescents who develop celebrity crushes on popular music artist, anime enthusiasts who “marry” their favorite characters, and fanfiction authors who insert themselves into narratives as romantic interests of the protagonist. Through analysis of surveys, in-depth interviews, and historical examples, this book advances our understanding of parasocial romantic relationships on both a sociocultural and a psychological level. The data and theories analyzed offer insights into how individuals can become romantically engaged with people they do not actually know, some of whom may not even exist in reality. Ultimately, Tukachinsky Forster argues that although these relationships exist only in the mind of consumers, they serve important psychological functions across different stages of life and can lead to significant consequences for individuals’ nonmediated relationships. Scholars of media studies, communication, psychology, and sociology will find this book particularly useful.
Riva Tukachinsky Forster is associate professor in the School of Communication at Chapman University.
Chapter 1: Imaginary Love is Real
Chapter 2: From Pinup Girls to Bieber Fevers
Chapter 3: Who Falls in Love with Whom?
Chapter 4: How Do I Love Thee? Maintenance of Parasocial Romantic Relationships
Chapter 5: The Role of PSRRs in Adolescence
Chapter 6: The Effects of PSRRs on Romantic Beliefs and Dating
Chapter 7: Same-sex PSRRs and LGB’s PSRRs
Chapter 8: Beyond Adolescence: PSRRs Across the Life Span
Chapter 9: Too Much Love Will Kill You? PSRRs Between Normalcy and Dysfunction
Chapter 10: And in the End: PSRR Dissolution
Chapter 11: Concluding Remarks: Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?
Appendix I: Survey Sample Description
Appendix II: PSRR Measure Used in the National Survey
Appendix III: Interview Sample
Appendix IV: Interview Prompts
About the Author
This book breaks new ground by giving an in-depth look at one of the most frequent types of parasocial relationship. It features rich qualitative data essential to the understanding of this kind of experience. This will be an important scholarly resource in my library!
This comprehensive book offers an engaging review of the scholarly literature on romantic relationships with media figures. Topics include an historical overview of parasocial romantic relationships (PSRRs) from Ancient Rome to the present day, types of PSRRs, functions of PSRRs at different life stages, and research on relationship maintenance and dissolution. The book also includes an insightful discussion of psychological perspectives on PSRRs. Grounded in research and literature on fandom, the author concludes that PSRRs are common and psychologically beneficial, a healthy extension of the tendency to form emotional bonds with others. The summary and research agenda in the final chapter should stimulate future scholarly inquiry! This book is a valuable resource for scholars and students, and should also be of interest to anyone intrigued by our engagement with media figures.
This book on imaginal romantic relationships with fictional characters and celebrities is a must-read for scholars and for anyone who wants to understand more about the psychology of loving characters, actors, and other media personalities from afar. As Tukachinsky Forster explains in her highly relatable and enjoyable writer’s voice, falling in love from afar has much more in common with our so-called real romances than we previously knew or admitted. Tukachinsky Forster reports research from her own lab and extends the discussion to cross life stages, sexual orientations, phases of the relationships--including breakups--and the results of having experienced such relationships in the first place. Readers leave with a deeper understanding of how imagination fits into all human connections. You’re sure to see yourself and your own romantic life more clearly after reading this excellent book.
This book is a comprehensive, timely, and insightful inquiry into the history, development, and utility of parasocial romantic relationships. Tukachinsky Forster confronts the surge of idiosyncratic studies on parasocial romantic relationships in the last decade by employing survey and interview data to holistically bring parasocial romantic relationships to life. This book approaches parasocial romance in a style accessible to scholars, students of media psychology, and the casual reader interested in audience connections with media figures; a much-needed text on a concept receiving increased attention among media scholars, content creators, and marketers.