Title

A Distant Ally?: Mortality Salience and Parasocial Attachment

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-16-2022

School

Psychology

Abstract

Research in Terror Management Theory finds that close interpersonal relationships (e.g., parents, romantic partners) mitigate threat reactions to reminders of mortality. Parasocial relationships (imagined relationships with media personalities) afford many of the same benefits as interpersonal relationships. Do these benefits extend to mortality concerns? We investigated whether those with strong parasocial attachments were differentially influenced by reminders of death. Results showed that those with strong parasocial relationships had more defensive reactions to a mortality prime, suggesting that such attachments may not afford the same existential benefits given by close human others and may instead indicate a heightened vulnerability.

Publication Title

OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying

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