YouTubers and the Malaysian Youths:

An Exploration into Digital Parasocial Relationships


  • Belinda Fong Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA), UKM
  • Eric Olmedo
  • Peng Kee Chang


parasocial relationships, YouTube , new media studies , youth, digital culture


A growing number of young media consumers are turning to online video platforms, with YouTube in particular attracting massive numbers of users and subscribers. As a result, these statistics increase the attraction of the celebrities, or YouTubers, featured in the videos. They gain viewers and worldwide recognition by their public presence and utilisation of vast marketing strategies. According to the concept of parasocial interactions, YouTube users may form links with the celebrities they view online. This study will extend previous research on the development of parasocial relationships conducted by Rubin and McHugh (1987) and Kurtin, O’Brien, Roy and Dam (2018) on social media to determine if such a relationship exists in the Malaysian community on YouTube. The results of a structural equation model were slightly similar to the original ones, proving that watching YouTube was a significant predictor of both social and physical attraction, regardless of ethnicity. The moderating variable of online comments introduced to the framework showed significant contribution to the development and the formation of parasocial ties, which increased the value of relationships. Overall, the results support applying parasocial interaction theory to the YouTube context in Malaysia.




How to Cite

Fong, B., Olmedo, E., & Chang, P. K. (2023). YouTubers and the Malaysian Youths: : An Exploration into Digital Parasocial Relationships. Journal of Ethnic and Diversity Studies (JOEDS), 1(1). Retrieved from