Introducing Parasocial Relationships to Family Communication Scholarship: A Tripartite Model of Family Communication Patterns, Parental Management of Children’s Parasocial Relationships, and Parent-Child Bonding
Srivastava, Shweta Arpit
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Introducing Parasocial Relationships to Family Communication Scholarship A Tripartite Model of Family Communication Patterns, Parental Management of Children’s Parasocial Relationships, and Parent-Child Bonding (1.386Mb)
PSRs are one-sided, emotionally-tinged relationships with media characters such as Peter Pan, Batman; Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and Mulan; and celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Harry Stiles (Giles, 2000). This project situates children’s PSRs within the family communication environment by exploring the relationships between Family Communication Patterns (FCPs), parental management of PSRs, and perceptions of parent-child bonding. Four parental management of PSRs behaviors, Guiding, Prohibiting, Supporting, and Neutrality, were studied with respect to the Conversation and Conformity orientations of FCPs. Parental management behaviors of Guiding, Prohibiting, and Supporting had significant impacts on perceptions of parent-child bonding, but Neutrality on its own did not have any significant influence. Guiding was manifested through the FCP path of Conformity instead of Conversation. Prohibiting had a strong inverse relationship with perceptions of parent-child bonding. Besides Conformity, Prohibiting also had a significant pathway through Conversation. Supporting had a strong and positive relationship with perceptions of parent-child bonding and a significant pathway through Conversation but not through Conformity. Although Neutrality on its own did not have a significant impact, it had a significant impact through Conformity. Overall, this study fulfills its goal to look at the impact of parental communication behaviors on perceptions of the parent-child relationship. In the context of PSRs, parental communication about managing children’s PSRs is significantly related to the perceptions of parent-child bonding, and the impact of these micro communication behaviors is mediated by the overarching communication environment. Therefore, this study recommends that PSRs can be introduced to the mainstream discussion of interpersonal relationships such that family communication scholarship can explore the role of PSRs beyond media effects.