Fink, Cai Co-Author Study on Loneliness and Gender

Deborah CaiProfessor Edward L. Fink and associate professor Deborah Cai are co-authors of a study on loneliness, gender, and parasocial interaction that appears in the February 2008 issue of Communication Quarterly. The lead author of the study is UM Ph.D. alumna Qi Wang, now an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Villanova University.


Entitled "Loneliness, gender, and parasocial interaction: A uses and gratifications approach," the study investigates how unfulfilled interpersonal needs due to loneliness are met by mediated communication, specifically through parasocial interaction. Based on a college-student sample, social loneliness was negatively related to the use of parasocial interaction. Gender interacted with family, romantic, and chronic loneliness in predicting parasocial interaction. For women, greater family loneliness predicted greater parasocial interaction, whereas for men the effect was negative. For men, greater chronic loneliness led to more parasocial interaction, whereas for owmen this effect was negative. Finally, for men, greater romantic loneliness was associated with less parasocial interaction, whereas for women this relationship was slightly positive. The findings were interpreted in terms of the uses and gratifications perspective, which relates interpersonal and mass communication.

Publication CoverCitation: Wang, Q., Fink, E. L., & Cai, D. A. (2008). Loneliness, gender, and parasocial interaction: A uses and gratifications approach.Communication Quarterly, 56, 87-109. 

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