Parasocial relationships with transgender characters and attitudes toward transgender individuals
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Carol M. Liebler
Attitudes towards Transgender, LGBTQ studies, Media Studies, Parasocial Contact Hypothesis, Parasocial Relationship, Transgender
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The transgender population lives in a condition of serious discrimination, poverty and violence (NCTE, 2014). Few studies, however, have been conducted to understand people’s attitudes toward this population and factors that affect the responses. Applying the Parasocial Contact Hypothesis (Schiappa, Gregg & Hewes, 2005), this thesis investigated the relationship between audiences’ positive and negative parasocial relationships with transgender characters in TV and their attitudes toward transgender people in real life. A survey method was employed to address research questions and test hypothesis. Results show a significant association between parasocial relationship (positive or negative) and attitudes toward trans people in real life. Parasocial relationship was also found to have mediating and interactive effects on the relationship between perceived realism of characters and attitudes toward transgender population. Finally, it was also suggested that positive parasocial relationship with comedy characters is a stronger predictor of attitudes than with non-comedy characters. Contribution, limitation and implications were also discussed.
Zhao, Lizhen, "Parasocial relationships with transgender characters and attitudes toward transgender individuals" (2016). Dissertations - ALL. 553.