Celebrity worship; reality TV and the pursuit of stardom

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Banuelos, Vanesa
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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Research suggests that the desire for fame appears to be increasing among preteens and teenagers (Uhls & Greenfield, 2012) and, as the findings of a survey conducted in Ireland suggests, many would drop out of school if they had an opportunity to fulfil their dreams of fame (Regan, 2006). Some commentators attribute this growing desire for fame to the rise of reality TV formats, which appear to have become a platform for ‘ordinary’ people to become famous regardless of talent (Turner, 2010). Given the growing fascination with celebrities over the recent years, and based on Bandura’s (2001) social cognitive theory of mass communication, the aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between celebrity worship and the desire to participate on reality TV shows. A correlational, cross-sectional design was utilised. A random sample of one hundred and eighteen participants were administered the Celebrity Attitude Scale (CAS), the Aspiration Index Revised (AI-R) and three short scales to measure the desire for fame, reality TV participation and Facebook usage. The results indicated a significant moderate positive correlation between celebrity worship and the desire to participate on reality TV (r = 366, p = .001) as well as a significant moderate correlation between the desire for fame and the willingness to put a career on hold if the opportunity to take part on reality TV was offered (r = 399, p = .001). The conclusions drawn from the results suggest that celebrity worship has an influence on people’s desire for fame and future aspirations and that people would be willing to sacrifice their career in order to pursue it. Future research could focus on a qualitative approach to further explore the reality TV participation and desire for fame. Author keywords: Celebrity worship, reality TV, desire for fame