Celebrity Worship and Body Image Concern: Mediating Role of Cognitive Flexibility

Document Type : Original Article


1 M.A Student, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran


Celebrity worship as a multifaceted issue, can affect the body image. In relationship between celebrity worship and body image concern, cognitive flexibility can play a remarkable role. Accordingly, the present study aimed to investigate the mediating role of cognitive flexibility in the relationship between celebrity worship and body image concern. The research design was descriptive and correlational. The statistical population of the study consisted of students of faculty of art and architecture of Guilan University in 2018, among which 300 students (150 females and 150 males) were recruited through convenience sampling method. The research measures consisted of Celebrity Attitude Scale (McCutcheon, Lange, & Houran, 2002), Body Image Concern Inventory (Littleton, Axsom & Pury, 2005) and Cognitive Flexibility Inventory (Dennis & Vander Wal, 2010). Data were analyzed by correlational and structural analyses. The results revealed that there are significant correlations between celebrity worship, body image concern, and cognitive flexibility. In addition, the proposed model had appropriate goodness of fit. According to the results, the indirect effect of celebrity worship through the cognitive flexibility on the body image concern was significant. The findings of this study clarified the prominence of cognitive flexibility in the relationship between celebrity worship and body image concern. Due to the mediating role of cognitive flexibility, it is possible to reduce the body image concerns that account for celebrity worship by implementing interventions based on the improvement of cognitive flexibility.


Main Subjects

Alexander, J. C. (2010). The Celebrity-Icon. Cultural Sociology, 4(3), 323-336.
Ang, C. S., & Chan, N. N. (2018). Adolescents’ Views on Celebrity Worship: A Qualitative Study. Current Psychology, 37(1), 139-148.
Aruguete, M., Griffith, J., Edman, J., Green, T., & McCutcheon, L. (2014). Body Image and Celebrity Worship. Implicit Religion, 17(2), 223-234.
Ashe, D. D., & McCutcheon, L. E. (2001). Shyness, Loneliness, and Attitude toward Celebrities. Current Research in Social Psychology, 6(9), 124-132.
Brown, W. J. (2015). Examining Four Processes of Audience Involvement with Media Personae: Transportation, Parasocial Interaction, Identification, and Worship. Communication Theory, 25(3), 259-283.
Brown, Z., & Tiggemann, M. (2016). Attractive celebrity and peer images on Instagram: Effect on women's mood and body image. Body Image, 19, 37-43.
Cash, T. F. (2004). Body image: past, present, and future. Body Image, 1, 1-5.
Darby, K. P., Castro, L., Wasserman, E. A., & Sloutsky, V. M. (2018). Cognitive flexibility and memory in pigeons, human children, and adults. Cognition, 177, 30-40.
Dennis, J. P., & Vander Wal, J. S. (2010). The cognitive flexibility inventory: Instrument development and estimates of reliability and validity. Cognitive Therapy Research, 34,241–253.
Fujii, D. E. M., Ahmed, I., & Takeshita, J. (1999). Neuropsychologic implications in erotomania: two case studies. Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neurology, 12, 110-116.
Gefen, D., Straub, D., & Boudreau, M. C. (2000). Structural equation modeling and regression: Guidelines for research practice. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 4(1), 7.
Greenwood, D., McCutcheon, L. E., Collisson, B., & Wong, M. (2018). What's fame got to do with it? Clarifying links among celebrity attitudes, fame appeal, and narcissistic subtypes. Personality and Individual Differences, 131, 238-243.
Huppert, F. A., & So, T. T. C. (2013). Flourishing across Europe: Application of a new conceptual framework for defining well-being. Social Indicators Research, 110, 837-861.
Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. Second Edition, New York: The Guilford Press.
Lee, S., Scott, D., & Kim, H. (2008). Celebrity fan involvement and destination perceptions. Annals of Tourism Research, 35(3), 809-832.
Levy, M. R. (1979). Watching TV news as parasocial interaction. Journal of Broadcasting, 23, 69-80.
Littleton, H. L., Axsom, D. S., & Pury, C. L. (2005). Development of the body image concern inventory. Behavior Research and Therapy, 43, 229-241.
Maltby, J., & Day, L. (2011). Celebrity Worship and Incidence of Elective Cosmetic Surgery: Evidence of a Link among Young Adults. Journal of Adolescent Health, 49(5), 438-489.
Maltby, J., Day, L., McCutcheon, L. E., Gillett, R., Houran, J., & Ashe, D. D. (2004). Personality and coping: a context for examining celebrity worship and mental health. British Journal of Psychology, 95(4), 411-428.
Maltby, J., Day, L., McCutcheon, L. E., Houran, J., & Ashe, D. (2006). Extreme celebrity worship, fantasy proneness and dissociation: Developing the measurement and understanding of celebrity worship within a clinical personality context. Personality and Individual Differences, 40(2), 273-283.
Maltby, J., Day, L., McCutcheon, L. E., Martin, M. M., & Cayanus, J. L. (2004). Celebrity worship, cognitive flexibility, and social complexity. Personality and Individual Differences, 37(7), 1475-1482.
Maltby, J., Giles, D. C., Barber, L., & McCutcheon, L. E. (2005). Intense‐personal celebrity worship and body image: Evidence of a link among female adolescents. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10(1), 17-32.
Maltby, J., Houran, J., Lange, R., Ashe, D., & McCutcheon, L. E. (2002). Thou shalt worship no other gods — unless they are celebrities: the relationship between celebrity worship and religious orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 32(7), 1157-1172.
Maltby, J., Houran, J., & McCutcheon, L. E. (2003). A Clinical Interpretation of Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with Celebrity Worship. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 191(1), 25-29.
Maltby, J., McCutcheon, L. E., Ashe, D. D., & Houran, J. (2001). The Self-Reported Psychological Well-Being of Celebrity Worshippers. North American Journal of Psychology, 3(3), 441-52.
Maltby, J., McCutcheon, L. E., & Lowinger, R. J. (2011). Brief Report: Celebrity Worshipers and the Five-factor Model of Personality. North American Journal of Psychology, 13(2), 343-348.
Martin, M. M., Cayanus, J. L., McCutcheon, L. E., & Maltby, J. (2003). Celebrity worship and cognitive flexibility. North American Journal of Psychology, 5, 75–80.
Martin, M. M., McCutcheon, L. E., & Cayanus, J. (2015). Celebrity Worship and Its Relationship to Television-Watching Motives: A Brief Report. North American Journal of Psychology, 17(2), 213-219.
Martin, M. M., & Rubin, R. B. (1995). A New Measure of Cognitive Flexibility. Psychological Reports, 76(2), 623-626.
McCutcheon, L. E., Ashe, D. D., Houran, J., & Maltby, J. (2003). A Cognitive Profile of Individuals Who Tend to Worship Celebrities. The Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied, 137(4), 309-322.
McCutcheon, L. E., Gillen, M. M., Browne, B. L., Murtagh, M. P., & Collisson, B. (2016). Intimate Relationships and Attitudes toward Celebrities. Interpersona, 10(1), 77-89.
McCutcheon, L. E., Lange, R., & Houran, J. (2002). Conceptualization and measurement of celebrity worship. British Journal of Psychology, 93(1), 67-87.
Mohammadi, N., & Sajadinejad, M. S. (2007). The Evaluation of psychometric properties of Body Image Concern Inventory and examination of a model about the relationship between body mass index, body image dissatisfaction and self-esteem in adolescent girls. Journal of Psychological Studies, 3(1), 85-101.
North, A. C., Sheridan, L., Maltby, J., & Gillett, R. (2007). Attributional Style, Self-Esteem, and Celebrity Worship. Media Psychology, 9(2), 291-308.
Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), 879–891.
Reeves, R. A., Baker, G. A., & Truluck, C. S. (2012). Celebrity Worship, Materialism, Compulsive Buying, and the Empty Self. Psychology and Marketing, 29(9), 674-679.
Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2014). I'm your number one fan- A clinical look at celebrity worship. Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, 11(1-2), 39-43.
Shabahang, R., Besharat, M. A., Nikogoftar, M., & Bagheri Sheykhangafshe, F. (2019). Role of Cognitive Flexibility and Emotional Regulation Problems in Prediction of Celebrity Worship among University Students. Journal of Knowledge & Research in Applied Psychology, 20(1), 13-25.
Shareh, H., Farmani, A., & Soltani, E. (2014). Investigating the Reliability and Validity of the Cognitive Flexibility Inventory (CFI-I) among Iranian University Students. Journal of Practice in Clinical Psychology, 2(1), 43-50.
Sheridan, L., North, A., Maltby, J., & Gillett, R. (2007). Celebrity worship, addiction and criminality. Psychology, Crime & Law, 13(6), 559-571.
Stever, G. S. (2011). Celebrity Worship: Critiquing a Construct. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41(6), 1356-1370.
Swami, V., Taylor, R., & Carvalho, C. (2009). Acceptance of cosmetic surgery and celebrity worship: Evidence of associations among female undergraduates. Personality and Individual Differences, 47(8), 869-872.
Teo, T., & Noyes, J. (2012). Explaining the intention to use technology among pre-service teachers: a multi-group analysis of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology. Interactive Learning Environments, 22(1), 51-66.
Turner, G. (2010). Approaching celebrity studies. Celebrity Studies, 1(1), 11-20.
Wang, C., Chen, C., Yang, S. C., & Farn, C. (2009). Pirate or buy? The moderating effect of idolatry. Journal of Business Ethics, 90, 81-93.