Is the fan phenomenon a form of mental disorder?

Is the fan phenomenon a form of mental disorder?

When we see hordes of teenagers screaming and crying in front of their favorite melodic pop singer, fans of a football team hitting the opposing team, or collectors of fantasy and science fiction figurines filling their home with dolls are we facing examples of different types of mental disorder?

Fan phenomenon

Despite what it may seem, there is no underlying mental disorder in the fan phenomenon (as long as we are not talking about extreme cases). The fan phenomenon does not focus on absurd obsessions (or yes, but that does not matter). And according to several psychologists, belonging to a community of fans is good for mental, emotional and social health .

Research shows that experiencing a weak feeling of belonging to a group is correlated with depression, especially among adolescents. Feeling like you are part of a "tribe" is not always easy, but finding groups of people with whom you share common interests is a starting point .

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Not surprisingly, then, so many people are drawn to fandom for that reason alone: ​​to create common ground in an otherwise divided and disconnected world. As Laurel Steinberg , a psychotherapist and professor of psychology at Columbia University, explains :

Belonging to a fan group helps teens connect with other like-minded youth on social media throughout the year, as well as at events and concerts. Feeling like you are part of a group can help define your identity and give a sense of purpose to what could be a routine lifestyle.

During adolescence, people are going through a time when they are forming their identity in the world . It’s normal and healthy for teens to align and connect mostly with their peers rather than with their parents. This is a wonderful process that helps teens learn to rely less on their parents and more on themselves to make healthy choices as they become adults. We call this process individuation .

Yet there is also a dark side, and there is a diffuse difference between genuine ardor and obsession, between group identity and loss of personality. The so-called endogroup bias, for example, inclines us to agree with the opinions held by our group (country, political party, etc.) against the opinions of others, which can make us refractory to reason and logic . And generate hatred for those who do not belong to our group.

However, despite the dark spots, training as individuals means belonging to groups, or otherwise we would drag real mental problems. Or put another way: you have to risk making mistakes while being part of the group rather than condemning yourself with all certainty to loneliness and the sadness of being in an isolated tower .