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Original Article

Parasocial Interaction as More Than Friendship

Evidence for Parasocial Interactions With Disliked Media Figures

Published Online:

This study supports the refinement of the concept of parasocial interaction (PSI) to apply to mediated personae that viewers might dislike. By contrast, traditional approaches have treated PSI as a sort of friendship with the mediated persona. Participants (N = 249) were randomly assigned to self-select a liked or disliked television persona. Various viewer reactions to that character were measured using two different measures of PSI. The data revealed that participants did experience PSI with disliked characters as well as liked characters, and that the two measures of PSI did not appear to assess the same construct. Implications for future research are discussed.