How Can Celebrities Make Me Feel More Safe? The Attachment Related Function of Social Surrogates
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People interact with a variety of media sources on a daily basis. Previous work suggests that social surrogates, or symbolic social connections, can provide individuals with comfort when distressed. The current work examined whether one type of social surrogate, celebrities, can serve as attachment figures by providing a secure base and safe haven. A correlational pretest indicated that the more an individual identified a celebrity as an attachment figure the more likely they were to be securely attached, higher in behavioral approach, and higher in care for others. Study 1 examined the secure base function of celebrities. I predicted that participants primed with a secure base celebrity would express increased prosocial intentions, as compared to an upward social comparison and neutral condition. I also predicted this relationship would be mediated by state security, however I did not find support for my hypotheses. Study 2 examined the safe haven function of celebrities. I predicted that people would write for longer about a secure base, as compared to an upward social comparison or neutral celebrity following a threat. I predicted this relationship would also be mediated by state security, however I did not find support for my hypotheses. In both studies general attachment anxiety and security, as well as perceptions of the celebrity’s ability to provide a secure base were explored as moderators. In both studies, the moderation effects were either non-significant or not in the predicted direction. Results will be discussed in terms of their implications for attachment and social surrogates.