The Mechanism of CP fandom Behaviors among Chinese Young Adults: A Grounded Theory Study

Wanqi Zhou, Yueling Zhang, Yuner Li, Qingyang Sun*, Zeyang Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


CP fandom behaviors or shipping, a growing popular phenomenon among Chinese young adults, refers to the activities of fans who take great satisfaction from the romantic relationships and interactions of their preferred pairings of idols or virtual characters. CP fans are regarded as a special group of fans with unique identities and interaction styles. This grounded theory study was conducted to explore the mechanism of CP fandom behaviors. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with thirty-one Chinese CP fans (twenty-eight females and three males). The antecedents, development, behavioral patterns, and consequences of shipping were identified in a comprehensive model. The reasons for CP fandom behaviors include individual factors (e.g., psychological projection, compensation, and social needs) and external factors (e.g., pop culture and internet environment). The consequences include positive emotional experiences, changed love values, and improved social interaction. CP fandom behaviors can be different in terms of the fans’ degrees of engagement, and the development of shipping can be divided into three stages: exploratory stage, formation and stability stage, and rupture stage. This study contributes to the literature of CP fandom behaviors among young adults in China and proposes the directions of future studies on such topics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • CP fans
  • fandom
  • grounded theory study
  • shipping behaviors


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