Bookmark and Share

Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > 56

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.

Celebrity Worship Questions and Answers

Quick Access:
All About Celebrity Worship

Besides my research and work in romantic relationships and industrial-organizational psychology, I’m rather well known for my studies in celebrity worship. This topic doesn’t seem immediately relevant to online dating, but I can tell you that the reasons why fans becomes deeply attached to a celebrity they don’t really know parallel the reasons why a person can feel as if they’ve found “the one” after just one date with a virtual stranger. With that in mind, I thought the readership of Online Dating Magazine would benefit from seeing some celebrity worship FAQs.


Why can’t we seem to live without celebrities?

The more “extreme” types of celebrity worshippers seem to act similar to drug addicts. Thus, just like an addict developing a psychological or physical tolerance to a chemical substance, these celebrity worshippers appear to need to endorse increasingly more intense or extreme attitudes and act out increasingly more intense or extreme behaviors in order to continue to feel connected to their favorite celebrity – or in the jargon of addiction – to continue to get a “high” from celebrities.

I think Western Society cannot live without celebrities. Western societies, in my opinion are entertainment saturated and media saturated societies. This combination fuels our need with celebrities. They are entertainment vehicles – pure and simple – and I liken their main functions as “fueling the economy” and serving as “role models.” That is, stars can help promote gift giving to charities and they certainly drive sales of various media, as well as serving as mentors to others.

What’s the role of technology in the relationship between celebrities and their admirers?

This is anecdotal, but I feel there is a strong relationship between celebrity worship and technology. While there has always been celebrity worship, technology has taken it to a heightened level. Prime Time news programs, entertainment “news” shows, the Internet, etc. allows fans to get almost any amount of information about on almost any celebrity and almost anytime. This “instant” fix probably reinforces and deepens the “addiction” people have to celebrities.

It does this by promoting in people the illusion that we can actually know and develop a relationship with celebrities. In essence, people seem to confuse having a lot of information about a celebrity with genuine intimacy. But now, more than ever before, technology allows fans to “get closer” their favorite celebrities – that is, the psychological and social “distance” between fans and celebrities is getting progressively smaller.

What might be some of the implications of the tabloidization of news? Is a diet of infotainment changing our values?

I think two of the main implications are

1. The demarcation between news and entertainment has been significantly blurred. In other words, our society has sacrificed genuine news and information for entertainment. Our culture is spoiled that we can be this focused on our personal entertainment!

2. The constant trivialization actually diminishes celebrities themselves. Celebrities used to be individuals who truly were special – they had obvious talents, skills and characteristics that set them apart from the general population. Now, celebrities are mass-produced products – even to the point where TV shows now turn everyday people into celebrities (reality TV)! This means that celebrities now compete with everyone for publicity and attention. I think this is one of the reasons why celebrities are doing more outrageous publicity stunts. And what does this all teach our children? It teaches them that it is perfectly okay to do whatever it takes to get attention. Not very productive!

If concern with the lives of celebrities is considered healthy, could indifference to celebrities then be classified as unhealthy?

This question is really a gross oversimplification of research findings. My studies reveal that low levels of celebrity worship are normal in the general population and can actually be healthy forms of behavior – such as promoting bonding among people (fan clubs, coworkers talking about the latest TV episodes around the water cooler), promoting stress reduction in people (entertainment and temporary escapism), and encouraging positive changes in society, such as when celebrities stimulate gift giving to charities or inspiring children to explore new talents and activities. Also, in Western society where celebrities are so prevalent, not knowing about them would be indicative of being unaware of current events. And too, having idols and role models has always been a natural and healthy part of identity development for adolescents and young adulthood. So, in several ways, low levels of celebrity worship are normal and healthy for us.

But, caring too much about celebrities is unequivocally unhealthy for our own sense of self and our relationships. Higher levels of celebrity worship (as measured by questionnaire instruments) correlates with variables such as increased depression, anxiety, lower critical thinking and poorer body image. Obviously, we don’t know cause and effect here for certain, but it’s clear that research findings consistently indicate that more extreme celebrity worship occurs in tandem with poorer psychological well-being.

Your research reveals a significant portion of people are admitted celebrity admirers or worshippers - are numbers on the rise or has this admiration gone on for centuries?

Cultural anthropological and historical studies show us that human societies have always had a need to “worship” things – and sure enough this was often special people in society – the best hunters, athletes, the most beautiful, the smartest, the most spiritual, etc. But, I feel that modern technology has only fueled this innate propensity to worship celebrities. People want to follow celebrities and networks and other media forums want to make money so they give people what they want. In turn, this just encourages the addiction to celebrities – much like offering chocolate to people who are already addicted to chocolate (but who really need to diet). As a result, and this is in my opinion since we have no historical and longitudinal data to know for certain, the prevalence of individuals with clinically problematic levels of celebrity worship is very likely on the rise.

> - The best approach to find the one. <

All Online Dating Magazine content, including the content on this page,
is © copyright by Online Dating Magazine and may not be
republished or reused in any form. You do have
full permission to link to this article.

Do you agree or disagree with this article? Have
more to add? Submit a Letter to the Editor today or post a comment below.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Statement | Code of Ethics Statement
Bookmark Online Dating Magazine at

>View Online Dating Magazine Singles Travel Adventures<

Online Dating | News | Columns | Features | Dating Services | Niche Dating
Online Dating Directory | Dating Humor | Quick Tip Articles | Online Dating Industry
Industry History
| Online Dating Reviews | Reader Reviews | Dating Videos | Book / DVD Reviews
Reader Letters | Self Improvement | Experiences | Newsletter | Interviews
Top 10 Lists | STD Info Center | About Us | Advertise
Media Center
| FAQ | Search | Contact | Dating Promotions

Dating Cartoons | Dating Jokes | Funny Dating Videos | Dating Games

Online Dating Magazine Needs Your Help!

All content on this Website is ©copyright by Online
Dating Magazine. All Rights Reserved. The content
on this site may not be reused or republished.

Are you an online dating site Webmaster? If so...
If you are looking for free dating content you can republish, click here



Advertise on
Online Dating Magazine



Stay Up to Date:

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us on YouTube

Follow Us on Facebook


10 Most Viewed Articles:

Online Dating Tips
Opposites Attract
Online Dating Safety Tips
Rose Colors
Guys are Weird
Dating Games
Online Dating Reviews
Creative Date Ideas
Long Distance Relationships
Dealing with a Breakup

Other Resources:

These links will take you away from Online Dating Magazine.

Google (Google Your Date)
Research Dating Service)

MailOrderBride Guide

Note: Online Dating Magazine does not sell text links anywhere on the site, so please don't email asking about text links. Any links we have are affiliate links, resources we find useful, links to other sites we run or long-time magazine sponsors. We do have graphic ad options in our Advertising section.