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Title: Our Gods?: celebrity worship among Catholic and Protestant young people in Northern Ireland
Author: Feeney, Linda
ISNI:       0000 0001 3458 7530
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2008
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There is increasing psychological interest in the impact of celebrity adoration in contemporary society. Such work has primarily been built around the Celebrity Attitude Scale among adult samples, and has examined the relationship of this measure with various aspects of psychological well-being. However, little work has focused on the place of celebrity adoration within the life of young people. Research among adolescents is of particular interest given their developing identities, as well as their explicit interest with figures in the media and popular culture. The present research among a sample of Northern Irish had six related aims: first, to provide a critical review of the celebrity worship literature, and in particular that relating to the development and deployment of the Celebrity Attitude Scale; second, to establish the level of celebrity worship among young adolescents in Northern Ireland; third, to identify the types and characteristics of the celebrities worshipped; fourth, to examine the appeal of fame among Protestant and Catholic adolescents; fifth, to identify sex differences in the conceptualisation of celebrity idols; and sixth, to examine the commonalities between the two religious communities (Protestant and Catholic) in terms of celebrities adored. A convenience sample of 806, adolescents aged between 11 and 19 years, were drawn from five schools in Northern Ireland. All respondents completed the Celebrity Attitude Scale, a revised version of the 10-item Parasocial Interaction Scale and qualitative items on celebrity adoration. All measures were completed during class time. First, a theoretical literature review was presented. Second, methodological issues surrounding the Celebrity Attitude Scale were highlighted. Third, psychometric structure of the Celebrity Attitude Scale was evaluated in terms of factor structure and temporal stability. Fourth, the level of celebrity worship among the present sample of Protestant and Catholic adolescents was computed and compared to previously published scores. Fifth, qualitative and quantitative differences in celebrity adoration by males and female adolescents were highlighted. Sixth, commonalities and differences between the two religious communities (Protestant and Catholic) in terms of the types and characteristics of the celebrities were explored. The overall findings indicated that in the lives of young people in Northern Ireland, like elsewhere, celebrity worship has an important place. As such, there are a number of important policy related issues. Finally, it is proposed that shared heroes or celebrity figures chosen between Catholics and Protestant may provide the focus for cross-community contact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available