Online Celebrity Bashing: Purely Relaxation or Stressful Confrontation? An Experimental Study on the Effects of Exposure to Online Celebrity Bashing on the Emotional Responses and Physiological Arousal Among Adolescent Bystanders

Gaëlle Ouvrein, Heidi Vandebosch, Charlotte J.S. De Backer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adolescents regularly observe practices of online celebrity bashing. Existing research pointed to adolescent bystanders' approving attitudes toward this practice. However, knowledge is lacking on how adolescent bystanders respond emotionally and physiologically to cases of celebrity bashing. An experimental study with two conditions (bashing/neutral) was conducted to investigate the influence of exposure to online celebrity bashing on the emotional responses and physiological arousal among adolescent bystanders (n = 67). Self-reported questionnaires before and after exposure to celebrity bashing were used to measure participants' emotional state. Their physiological activation (heart rate and skin conductance) was recorded using the E4 Empatica Wristlet. The results indicated that adolescents responded quite negatively to the cases of celebrity bashing, expressing increased feelings of anger, sadness, frustration and powerlessness, and decreased feelings of amusement. Moreover, adolescent bystanders experienced celebrity bashing as stressful, as both the heart rate and phasic skin conductance significantly increased after exposure to bashing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-594
Number of pages7
JournalCyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking
Volume23
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen), grant number 12W1720N. The funding sources have no involvement in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers 2020.

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