Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sheila Walker

Reader 2

Lahnna Catalino

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2018 Meghna Gupta


The concept of a celebrity has shifted with the rise of social media influencers, individuals with massive influence on young audiences across different social media platforms. Despite extensive research on risk-taking behavior amongst adolescents as well as the impact of celebrities on adolescent behavior, there has been no research on the specific role influencers have on adolescent behaviors and attitudes. The purpose of this proposed study is to investigate different types of YouTubers and if they have an influence on adolescent risk perception. Using an experimental longitudinal design, participants aged 15 to 18 will be randomly assigned into an experimental condition (where they will be required to watch YouTube videos by influencers that promote negative and reckless behavior) or a control condition (where they will be required to watch neutral YouTube videos of technology reviews). They will watch the videos for eight weeks, and then fill out a risk perception questionnaire. It is predicted that those in the experimental condition will have a significantly reduced risk perception. It is also predicted that males will have a significantly reduced risk perception than females. Lastly, it is predicted that frequent exposure to external violent media, aside from YouTube, will lead to a reduced risk perception. The research findings will have important implications on how to prevent adolescents from making risky decisions that put themselves and others in harm, as well inform parents and social media companies such as YouTube on what content is appropriate for adolescents.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.