Poll: Are You Celebrity Obsessed?
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Celebrity Worship Syndrome is an obsessive-addictive disorder in which a person becomes overly involved with the details of a celebrity's personal life.
Psychologists in the U.S.A. and UK. created a celebrity worship scale to rate the problems. In 2002, United States psychologists Lynn McCutcheon, Rense Lange, and James Houran introduced the Celebrity Attitude Scale, a 34 item scales administered to 262 persons living in central Florida. McCutcheon suggested that celebrity worship comprised one dimension in which lower scores on the scale involved individualistic behavior such as watching, listening to, reading and learning about celebrities whilst the higher levels of worship are characterized by empathy, over-identification, and obsession with the celebrity.
However, later research among larger U.K. samples have suggested there are 3 different aspects to celebrity worship;John Maltby (University of Leicester), and the aforementioned psychologists examined the Celebrity Attitude Scale among 1732 United Kingdom respondents (781 males, 942 females) who were aged between 14 and 62 years and found the following 3 dimensions to celebrity worship:
This dimension comprises attitudes that fans are attracted to a favorite celebrity because of their perceived ability to entertain and become a social focus such as “I love to talk with others who admire my favorite celebrity” and “I like watching and hearing about my favorite celebrity when I am with a large group of people”.
The intense-personal aspect of celebrity worship reflects intensive and compulsive feelings about the celebrity, akin to the obsessional tendencies of fans often referred to in the literature; for example “I share with my favorite celebrity a special bond that cannot be described in words” and “When something bad happens to my favorite celebrity I feel like it happened to me’”.
Borderline - Pathological
This dimension is typified by uncontrollable behaviors and fantasies regarding scenarios involving their celebrities, such as “I have frequent thoughts about my favorite celebrity, even when I don’t want to” and “my favorite celebrity would immediately come to my rescue if I needed help”.
Evidence indicates that poor mental health is correlated with celebrity worship. Researchers have examined the relationship between celebrity worship and mental health in United Kingdom adult samples. Maltby (2001) found evidence to suggest that the intense-personal celebrity worship dimension was related to higher levels of depression and anxiety. Similarly, Maltby in 2004, found that the intense-personal celebrity worship dimension was not only related to higher levels of depression and anxiety, but also higher levels of stress, negative affect, and reports of illness. Both these studies showed no evidence for a significant relationship between either the entertainment-social or the borderline-pathological dimensions of celebrity worship and mental health.
Another correlated pathology was recently reported by Maltby, Giles, Barber and McCutcheon (2005) who examined the role of celebrity interest in shaping body image cognitions. Among three separate U.K. samples (adolescents, students and older adults) individuals selected a celebrity of their own sex whose body/figure they liked and admired, and then completed the Celebrity Attitude Scale along with two measures of body image. Significant relationships were found between attitudes toward celebrities and body image among female adolescents only. The findings suggested that, in female adolescence, there is an interaction between intense-personal celebrity worship and body image between the ages of 14 and 16 years, and some tentative evidence is found to suggest that this relationship disappears at the onset of adulthood, 17 to 20 years. These results are consistent with those authors who stress the importance of the formation of relationships with media figures, and suggest that relationships with celebrities perceived as having a good body shape may lead to a poor body image in female adolescents.
Within a clinical context the effect of celebrity might be more extreme, particularly when considering extreme aspects of celebrity worship. Maltby, Day, McCutcheon, Houran and Ashe (2006) examined the relationship between entertainment-social, intense-personal and borderline-pathological celebrity worship and obsessiveness, ego-identity, fantasy proneness and dissociation. Two of these variables drew particular attention; fantasy proneness (time spent fantasising, reporting hallucinatory intensities as real, reporting vivid childhood memories, having intense religious and paranormal experiences) and dissociation (reflects the lack of a normal integration of experiences, feelings, and thoughts in everyday consciousness and memory and is related to a number of psychiatric problems).
Though low levels of celebrity worship (entertainment-social) are not associated with any of the clinical measures, medium levels of celebrity worship (intense-personal) are related to fantasy proneness (around 10% of the shared variance), while high levels of celebrity worship (borderline-pathological) share a greater association with fantasy proneness (around 14% of the shared variance) and dissociation (around 3% of the shared variance, though the effect size of this is small and most probably due to the large sample size). This finding suggests that as celebrity worship becomes more intense, and the individual perceives having a relationship with the celebrity, the more the individual is prone to fantasies.
What percent of the day to you spend on celebrity gossip, photos, magazines as opposed to reading, working, or being constructive in your family's activities?