Celebrities’ self-disclosures about their mental health issues can enhance public awareness of mental illness such as depression. As online live streaming becomes a popular choice for media entertainment, microcelebrities such as video streamers may have similar influence over their audience. Using an online survey (N = 474), this study examined how exposure to streamers’ depression disclosures affected the viewer’s perceptions toward the streamers and depression. We also examined how parasocial relationships, parasocial interactions, and identification with streamers were associated with 1) the viewers’ perceived authenticity and credibility toward the streamers, 2) as well as increases in the viewers’ perceived prevalence, risk susceptibility, and risk severity about mental health. The study demonstrates a strong association between streamers’ health disclosures and public awareness regarding depression. The study extends previous studies around celebrity influencers as a promising opportunity for reducing social stigma around mental health discussions. The study also advances our theoretical understanding of microcelebrities’ social influence in a new media context.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)