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Young, Ariana F., Shira Gabriel, and Jordan L. Hollar. "Batman to the rescue! The protective effects of parasocial relationships with muscular superheroes on men’s body image." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 49. (2013): 173–77. 
Added by: joachim (8/28/16, 10:37 PM)   
Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
Peer reviewed
DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.08.003
BibTeX citation key: Young2013
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Categories: General
Keywords: Body, Empirical research, Media effects, Psychology, Superhero
Creators: Gabriel, Hollar, Young
Collection: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Views: 8/565
Superheroes have a considerable presence in our society and dominate popular media for boys and men, while often representing unattainable muscular ideals. The present research is the first to examine the effects of superheroes on men’s body image and the moderating role of parasocial relationship status (PSR; a one-sided psychological bond) on those effects. Men who had vs. did not have a PSR with a superhero were exposed to a muscular vs. non-muscular image of that superhero. As predicted, exposure to a muscular superhero with whom a PSR did not exist made men feel bad about their bodies (Hypothesis 1). However, having a PSR with a muscular superhero not only eliminated the negative effects of exposure on body satisfaction, but also increased men’s physical strength (Hypothesis 2). This research suggests that muscular superheroes change men’s body image and that the direction of that change is determined by PSR status.
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