The purpose of the current article was to explore parasocial phenomena in the unique and interactive context of live streaming. Specifically, the predictors of parasocial interactions (PSIs) and parasocial relationships (PSRs) were compared. In the past, the terms ‘parasocial interaction’ and ‘parasocial relationship’ have been used interchangeably, even though they are distinct constructs – which has confused researchers’ understanding of these phenomena. The current study aims to begin to disentangle our understanding of these two constructs by studying the predictors for each construct separately. An online survey was utilized to collect data on PSRs, PSIs, and various parasocial predictors that fell into three categories: streamer (source) characteristics, viewer characteristics, and behavioral (relationship) characteristics. Results indicate that streamer characteristics were the most important predictors of both PSIs and PSRs in the live streaming context, although characteristics of the viewer and relationship were also influential. These findings indicate that message sources can modify their content to encourage parasocial phenomena in their audience. This is encouraging, as research suggests that parasocial phenomena lead to many positive repercussions for the media and so are generally considered a goal of media personae.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Live streaming
- online relationships
- parasocial interaction
- parasocial predictors
- parasocial relationship