Celebrity worshippers are harming their mental health

Celebrity worshippers who intensely monitor their favourite star are harming their own mental health because they prefer to adore their idol rather than face everyday stressful events. In the largest study of its kind in the UK, researchers questioned 372 men and women about their attitudes towards celebrities. They found that just over 22 per cent of these could be classed as ”celebrity worshippers” and this group could then be divided into three distinctive forms of worshipper: entertainment-social celebrity worshipper, intense-personal worshipper and borderline-pathological worshipper.

From University of Leicester :

Celebrity worshippers are harming their mental health

Perils of intense celebrity worshipping revealed in new study

Celebrity worshippers who intensely monitor their favourite star are harming their own mental health because they prefer to adore their idol rather than face everyday stressful events.

This is the finding of Dr John Maltby of the University of Leicester and colleagues from the UK, USA and Australia. They will present their findings, which are part of continuing work, in the British Journal of Psychology, published tomorrow, Monday 15 November 2004.

In the largest study of its kind in the UK, the researchers questioned 372 men and women about their attitudes towards celebrities. They found that just over 22 per cent of these could be classed as ”celebrity worshippers” and this group could then be divided into three distinctive forms of worshipper: entertainment-social celebrity worshipper, intense-personal worshipper and borderline-pathological worshipper.

Those who followed stars for entertainment and social reasons did not have significant mental health problems, in fact they were found to be more outgoing, happy and optimistic. While those who demonstrated the highest levels of celebrity worship (borderline-pathological) were solitary and anti-social but their worship did not harm their mental state. Only in the intermediate category — the intense-personal worshippers — did mental health problems become evident.

Those who pursued this kind of worship, which involves feelings such as considering a favourite celebrity to be a soul mate or keeping pictures/souvenirs of a celebrity in a particular place, suffered poorer mental health including depression, stress or low levels of life satisfaction.

The researchers suggest this is because intense-personal worshippers use neurotic ways of coping, such as dealing with stress by disengaging and living in a state of denial. They do not deal effectively with everyday events and may actually spend time worshipping celebrities at the expense of dealing with such events.

Dr Maltby said: ”Celebrity worship should not be a concern when carried out in moderation. However, for those individuals who worship celebrities for intense-personal reasons, there may be consequences for individual mental health.

”Those who engage in this form of celebrity worship are characterised as tense, emotional and moody and tend to withdraw from the world so they might be best helped by addressing their emotionality and being encouraged to stop withdrawing from stressful situations.”

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Brown, Press Officer, tel. 0116 252 9500 (work), 07793 800369 (mobile); Sharon Smart, Assistant Press Officer, tel. 0116 252 9500 (work), 07793 800368 (mobile).

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.