Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Jack Burton 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Jack Burton. I am 24 years old and living in Bray. I am a 2024 graduate from Applied Psychology in IADT, having gone through the practice path. I am passionate about music and hope to incorporate the skills I have developed throughout the course of my studies into my career.

Project Description

For my major research project, I conducted a qualitative study using thematic analysis to examine parasocial relationships between fans and musicians. I decided upon this approach due to my interest in music, and this aspect of psychology being of particular interest to me.

Project Objectives

The present study sought the examine the behaviour of individuals that engage in parasocial relationships with musicians. This was achieved by analysing a sample of the postings on the social media site Reddit, from 132 participants. The analysis of this data corpus lead to the development of six main themes that encapsulate the behaviour of participants that engage in parasocial relationships with a chosen musician. The present study examined the behaviour of participants towards their chosen musician, and also examined the behaviour of participants towards other fans within the same community.

Project Outcomes

In the data collection and analysis process of the present study, six main themes were extracted from the data corpus. These themes consisted of over familiarity, a sense of duty, a sense of being owed, idolisation, appearance, and infighting. Of these six main themes, three were further divided into having subthemes within them. These consisted of over familiarity divided into the subthemes of personal, familial, relationships, and emotional attachment. The theme of having a sense of duty was divided into the subthemes of monetary support, and protection. Finally, the theme of appearance was divided into subthemes of positive, and negative. These themes were deemed to best capture the phenomena present when examining parasocial interactions with a musician on online discussion forums.

Thesis Title

A Thematic analysis of Parasocial Relationships with Musicians