Celebrity Gossip May be Good for Your Health?

Though widely read, celebrity gossip magazines–both online and print, are often regarded as lacking in merit due to their sensational stories and lack of news content.

However, research by Amanda Hinnant, an assistant professor of magazine journalism at the University of Missouri, published research on the impact of celebrity health stories on her focus groups.

Celebrity Gossip

From previous research,  people typically seek out interpersonal advice from a friend or family member before changing their health behaviors.  Hinnant’s research suggests that celebrity health stories could circumvent that step.

“Based on the discussion of participants, we observed that it is possible for celebrities to serve as surrogate interpersonal contacts for people,”

“Therefore, it would be less likely for a consumer of celebrity media to check with a friend or family member before changing a health behavior based on a mass-mediated message. The presence of a celebrity in a health story could serve as that interpersonal contact for the reader.”

Amanda also added, “Some readers of celebrity health stories report that the stories have an impact on their own behavior and how they discuss health issues.  She also noted that celebrity health stories ‘play an important role in society’ by sparking conversation among people as well as by helping parents to give advice to their children.

Celebrity Health Stories

Hinnant’s research suggested two key aspects of how people react to celebrity health stories.  First, she noted that her participants were able to engage in critical thinking in response to celebrity health behavior.  They would look at this behavior in the context of the celebrity’s life while weighing both moral and mitigating circumstances.

[box type=”note”]Secondly, her research participants reacted differently to celebrity health issues if they’ve personally experienced those issues themselves.[/box]

Examples included in her research were postpartum health as well as addiction issues.  In the first example, a story about “a celebrity’s postpartum health behavior will elicit a stronger reaction from those with children than those without.”  In the latter, those who’ve experienced addiction issues will also react with a stronger response.


Speaking of celebrity gossip, well at least about health issues being good for your health, if you missed it… earlier this month, Perez Hilton launched his own celebrity fitness blog, FitPerez.

Apparently, the impetus for this idea came after Mario Lavanderia (his real name), lost 60 lbs over the past three years.  Hilton suggests that his new site is about encouraging readers to be healthier and happier.  Wait a minute…  isn’t that the idea that’s also behind Hive Health Media?


  1. http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2010/1013-mu-researchers-find-celebrity-journalism-may-contribute-positively-to-consumer-health-behaviors/
  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8083811/Celebrity-gossip-is-good-for-your-health-scientists-find.html

11 thoughts on “Celebrity Gossip May be Good for Your Health?

  • Pingback: Celebrity Journalism: Good for Your Health? « Paparazzi In Perspective

  • February 19, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Celebrity gossip is definetly good for your health, and the best new celeb news and gossip site around is trendrabbit.com

  • November 1, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Many people will claim they don’t like celebrity gossip but are secretly fascinated by it. The unfortunate thing is their influence can be unhealthy just as often as it is healthy.

  • November 1, 2010 at 5:52 am

    Anyone could be fit and healthy if they had the celebs physical and fitness trainer looking after them eh??!! I guess for some people it motivates them but can’t say it does much for me.
    Patricia Perth Australia

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  • October 31, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Okay – I will grudgingly accept that knowing the intimate details of my favorite celeb’s health will help me with my own health. I can see the connection. Knowing that someone who I identify with in some way has had a similar problem and handled it successfully would inspire me to follow suit.

    But don’t every ask me to LIKE celebrity gossip!

    • October 31, 2010 at 9:33 pm

      Hey Dawn, at least this research shows that something positive can come out of this, right? :)

  • Pingback: Celebrity Gossip May be Good for Your Health? | the best health

  • October 31, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Celebrity gossip offers the opportunity for social interaction which leads to opinions and usually ends with a healthy dose of laughter.

    • October 31, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      Hey Colleen, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Hopefully that’s all that results from celebrity gossip–along with the other health benefits.


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