An exploration of the influence of online parasocial interaction and parasocial relationship on consumer behaviour

Sheng, Jie (2024) An exploration of the influence of online parasocial interaction and parasocial relationship on consumer behaviour. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis advances the understanding of parasocial Interaction (PSI) and parasocial relationship (PSR), which are critical for understanding consumer behaviour in media environments. PSI refers to media users' perceptions of one-to-one communication with media characters during media exposure, while PSR refers to an individual's psychological attachment to media characters. Despite their significance in marketing research, conceptual ambiguities and inappropriate PSR measurement persist, overlooking PSR’s dynamic nature and development process. Therefore, this thesis aims to address these gaps by differentiating between them, improving their conceptualisation, introducing a new PSR measurement tool, and exploring the PSR development process and its outcomes.

Conducted in six phases, this research began with Phase 1: a systematic literature review of 172 articles. It identified seven prerequisites that distinguish PSI from PSR and laid the foundations for a PSR development model. A sequential mixed-method approach followed, starting with Phase 2, which comprised qualitative interviews with 25 participants to understand PSR and the PSR development process. This groundwork led to the operationalisation of PSR through Phase 3, an expert survey (n=11), and Phases 4 and 5, which were two consumer surveys (n=205 and n=206), resulting in a valid PSR measurement tool. A final survey (n=405) validated the PSR development model and tested the research hypotheses.

The findings reveal that PSR is a multidimensional construct characterised by intimacy, maintenance, and real-life relationship intention dimensions. A PSR development process is established, including exposure initiation, experimentation, intensification, and integration, highlighting the roles of PSI, perceived value, and trust. Subsequently, PSR fosters consumer intention to support and brand attitudes, positively affecting purchase intentions.

This thesis has theoretical contributions and practical implications. Theoretically, it advances the conceptualisation of PSR, elucidating its complex and dynamic nature, and advances the operationalisation of PSR by creating a reliable and valid measurement instrument for PSR in online environments. It also advances and validates the PSR development process. Practically, it guides marketers and influencers in developing longterm relationships step-by-step and generates more effective influencer marketing strategies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School
Supervisor's Name: Kostyk, Dr. Alena and Chatzipanagiotou, Dr. Kalliopi
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84401
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2024 11:15
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2024 11:19
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84401

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