Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication Studies and University Honors

First Advisor

Ian Lowrie


This research examines young women’s experiences with parasocial relationships (PSR) and how they use media in relation to their PSRs. I intended to determine if young women experienced romantic (PSRR) and platonic PSR in different ways with different goals, if PSR/PSRR impacted young women’s beliefs and behaviors, how PSR used social media in relation to their PSR, and if nonfictional and fictional media figures resulted in different goals for the PSR. I recruited Portland State University students who were women between the ages of 18 and 30 for a focus group and follow-up interviews on the subject of their PSRs. I found that young women’s PSRs reflected Ball-Rokeach’s media dependency goals of orientation, understanding, and play, and that PSRs allowed young women to fulfill what Horton and Wohl refer to as their enacted roles.

Keywords: parasocial, parasocial interaction, parasocial relationships, young women, media system dependency theory