Our aim of this experiment was to find if the amount of ‘celebrity stalking’ an individual does or their attitudes towards celebrities is related to their relationship and attachment types. We did a slightly altered replicate of McCutcheon et al. (2006) study. We chose a self- report technique using questionnaires and being in a school meant opportunity sampling was our best option to receive as many results as possible, as we had less opportunity.
We gave our questionnaire to students aged 15-19 in a British school asking them to complete three measurements: a celebrity attitude scale rating how much they agree with statements about their attitudes to celebrities, a celebrity stalking scale rating how appropriate they find scenarios of stalking and a relationship questionnaire asking about their attachment types. Unlike McCutcheon et al. we chose not to include a parental bonding scale due to the young ages of our participants as they would be unable to give a view of their parental relationships until the age of 16 if they were not yet 16 years old.
The celebrity attitude and stalking scale included several scenarios, some ranging from ‘entertainment/social’ to ‘borderline pathological’, asking participants to agree on statements and rate the appropriateness of scenarios e.g. ‘you see your favourite celebrity in the mall, you follow them constantly into several shops until they leave’
We found support that there was a link between insecure attachments and the likeliness for someone to form a parasocial relationship with a celebrity but the type of attachment was specific. Secure attachments tended to score average scores between 20-30, insecure-avoidant attachment types scored low scores which where generally under 20, insecure-ambivalent and disorganised attachments tended to score specifically high. This suggests that these people are more likely to from parasocial relationships and they were more likely to think that stalking behaviours were acceptable than those with secure or avoidant attachment types. Reasoning for this could be fear of rejection as they know parasocial relationships cannot result in this.
We were sensitive with participants due to the personal questions asked in the questionnaire and gave participants the option to be debriefed if they so wish.
As we were limited in time and with our participant samples, we used teenage participants in the same school within the same school, this could suggest culture bias however in Dubai we were able to use participants from several cultures making our results more valid.
An issue with self-report is that participants may feel the need to lie in fear of being judged by peers however we addressed this issue by making the questionnaires anonymous, only taking age and gender as well as asking participants to complete the scales with no discussion between their peers.