The purpose of this study was to build theory about parasocial relationships and to examine what affect, if any, religion had on parasocial relationships. Using qualitative methods, the researcher watched the show three times with five women followed by an in-depth interview. The women chosen were LDS stay-at-home moms who had watched a soap opera for at least a year.
From this data came several surprising findings about religion and soap opera viewing. The women said they did not feel guilty about the content of the shows, rather the time required to watch. This guilt was alleviated by structuring their daily tasks around watching the shows. Also, since the women viewed the show as entertainment, they were less likely to judge the actions of the characters as harshly as if it were real-life. Current life situation was also the biggest factor in whether or not a parasocial relationship existed and how strong that relationship is.
This thesis illustrates the need for a comprehensive theory about parasocial relationships. As the media becomes more prominent in our lives, parasocial relationships will need to become understood in greater detail in order to understand what possible effect, if any, they could have.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Pryor, EmmaLee Elizabeth Haight, "Making Friends to Last A Lifetime: An Ethnographic Study of Parasocial Relationships and Soap Opera Characters" (2002). All Theses and Dissertations. 5055.
Mormon women, Psychology, Housewives, Television, Psychological aspect, Interpersonal relations, culture, Soap operas