The Psychology Behind Celebrity Worship

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People seemingly worship all types of celebrities from film stars to sports stars but is there a healthy level of celebrity worship?

Believe it or not there is an actual disorder that stems from celebrity worship. Celebrity Worship Syndrome is a condition in which a person is extremely obsessed with somebody who is considered a public figure such as a film or television star, pop star, or politician.

Although celebrity worship may seem like a modern day disorder because of our attention to media it is actually not that new. Artists, actors and classical musicians from previous centuries drew crowds of women who would throw undergarments at them much like the antics seen at a modern day rock concert.

Why Do People Worship Celebrities?

People often look for ways to escape the stressors in their lives. In this way, celebrities are able to tap into the basic emotions of people and give them a reprieve from their everyday lives. By engaging with them through the media, the worshipper is able to live in sort of fantasy world and entertain hidden wishes for a short while.

Another reason people may turn to celebrity worship is their own sense of isolation. As society becomes less connected emotionally, people may be filling social needs by becoming attached to celebrities. After all, many people feel like they have grown up with certain characters on television.

In short, many people experience harmless celebrity worship by following their favorite movie or pop star. The problem comes when people feel so isolated and alone that they must connect with somebody that is, for all intents and purposes, out of reach. As a result, many professionals contend that the foundations of celebrity worship are rooted in our culture's social inadequacies.

Three Levels of Celebrity Worship

Evidence indicates that poor mental health is associated with unhealthy levels of celebrity worship. The types or levels of celebrity worship are as follows:

Entertainment-social. This level of celebrity worship is relatively harmless and involves reading or learning about celebrities, talking with friends about celebrities, or becoming part of a celebrity fan club.

Intense-personal. This level reflects a deepening illusion surrounding a celebrity. Often the worshipper will believe that they have a special bond with the celebrity and when they see something bad happen to the celebrity in the media they may feel like it is happening to them as well.

Borderline-pathological. This level of worship is typified by obsessive thoughts about a celebrity that the worshipper cannot stop even though they may try. These thoughts often lead to delusional beliefs. Often the worshipper expects the celebrity to come to their house or believes that the celebrity is in love with them. Stalking behavior is commonly associated when a person reaches borderline-pathological level.

For hundreds of years people have been suffering from Celebrity Worship Disorder. Figures in the public eye have always drawn crowds who want to emulate great talent or good looks. To keep things in perspective, maybe we should keep one question in mind: Are celebrities really worthy of worship or are they just people like us?


Nurul H
Posted on Oct 5, 2014
Sky Song
Posted on Nov 24, 2012