International Students’ Direct and Parasocial Contact and Attitudes Toward American Host Nationals: The Mediating Role of Cultural Identification
Guided by the theoretical intersections of acculturation and intergroup contact, this study explores the associations between international students’ direct contact with American host nationals and parasocial interaction with their favorite American character on mass media, identification with the U.S. culture, and attitudes toward Americans. The results indicated that international students’ communication frequency and communication quality with their most frequent American contact, parasocial interaction with their favorite American movie/TV drama character had significant positive indirect effects on their affective and behavioral attitudes toward Americans through identification with the U.S. culture. In addition, communication quality had a significant positive direct effect on behavioral attitudes. These findings contribute to studies about international students in the United States by highlighting the importance of cultural identification with the U.S. culture as a mediator of the relationships between international students’ direct and parasocial interactions with American host nationals and their attitudes toward Americans.