In search of catharsis

Trump and parasocial predictors of social media use integration


  • T. Phillip Madison University of Louisiana - Lafayette
  • Philip Auter University of Louisiana - Lafayette
  • James Honeycutt University of Texas - Dallas
  • Lauren Horst University of Louisiana - Lafayette


Trump, parasocial relationships, PSRs, social media use integration, SMUI, Imagined Interaction, IIs, survey, regression


Research in social media usage is extending beyond analyses of various high-traffic platforms and the average time users spend online. Developments of newer research explore the functions and motivators of social media use integration (SMUI). SMUI assesses the adoption of social media usage into everyday life as well as the emotional components that accompany the integration process. Similarly, researchers are considering parasocial relationships (PSRs) from the viewpoint that PSRs are a means of integration of mediated content into everyday life. The present study explores PSRs with President Donald Trump as drivers of greater social media use integration. Results indicate that the catharsis function of PSRs with Trump is a significant predictor of SMUI with gender impacting both the variety and valence attributes of PSRs.

Author Biographies

T. Phillip Madison, University of Louisiana - Lafayette

Department of Communication

Assistant Professor

Philip Auter, University of Louisiana - Lafayette

Department of Communication


James Honeycutt, University of Texas - Dallas

Naveen Jindal School of Management


Lauren Horst, University of Louisiana - Lafayette

Department of Communication

Graduate Assistant


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