Hoffner, C., & Buchanan, M. (2005, December). Young adults’ wishful identification with television characters: The role of perceived similarity and character attributes. Media Psychology, 7(4), 325-351. Retrieved July 13, 2009, doi:10.1207/S1532785XMEP0704_2


In this study, 208 young adults completed questionnaires measuring their perceptions of and responses to their favorite fictional television characters, both male and female. Measures included perceived attitude similarity, perceived character attributes (smart, successful, attractive, funny, violent, admired), and wishful identification with the characters. Wishful identification was defined as the desire to be like or act like the character. Respondents reported greater wishful identification with same-gender characters and with characters who seemed more similar in attitudes. Both men and women identified more strongly with successful and admired characters of the other gender, but they differed in the attributes that predicted their wishful identification with same-gender characters. Men identified with male characters whom they perceived as successful, intelligent, and violent, whereas women identified with female characters whom they perceived as successful, intelligent, attractive, and admired. Humor was the only attribute that was not related to wishful identification. Interpretations of the findings, and implications for understanding the social impact of television, are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved)(from the journal abstract)