parasocial, attachments, romantic relationships, media, adolescent females


Romantic movies, TV shows, and mature novels are endorsed and consumed by many individuals in society—particularly women. However, media may not always portray reality accurately, which might mislead adolescent females who are still developing socially, sexually, emotionally, and cognitively. Studies have indicated that young women may naturally turn to parasocial romantic relationships (PSRRs)—one-sided emotional attachments to fictional characters in media—to explore their developing romantic expectations and sexuality in a way that appears to be harmless and free of consequence (Erickson et al., 2018). However, several effects of PSRRs may have a detrimental impact on adolescent females whose emotions become extremely invested in fictional characters; they may become susceptible to adopting unrealistic expectations and acting on unhealthy sexual behaviors portrayed in the romantic media (Galloway et al., 2015; Gamble, 2018). Additionally, these expectations and behaviors that begin in adolescence may carry into adult life, having the potential to affect not only current relationships but also long-term future relationships (Aubrey et al., 2018). Thus, future research should focus on methods of avoiding excessive PSRRs and discovering other negative effects that this one-sided attachment can have on adolescents.

Included in

Psychology Commons