Do you feel a loss after a favorite television series ends? NBC News reported that grieving a show, particularly one watched for a length of time, is very real:

“When the Australian soap opera ‘Neighbours’ was canceled in 2022, it marked the end of a cultural institution that ran for 37 years. The homey setting in a fictitious suburb and the characters fans had come to love were suddenly all gone.

“It was a loss that Adam Gerace, a senior psychology lecturer at Central Queensland University in Australia, wanted to know more about. So he asked almost 1,300 Australians how they were feeling about the show’s end.

“’Fans were talking about the end of the series as if they were losing a friend,’ he said.

“Their reactions amounted to genuine experiences of grief and loss, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, of which Gerace is the author.

“Gerace created an online survey that asked fans if they had experienced emotions related to grief, such as anger or sadness, shortly after the final episode aired in 2022. (The show was revived in 2023 after the survey closed.)

“It also gauged whether people were able to accept that the series was ending, felt any closure about the show going off-air or were thankful for having been able to watch the show for so long.

“Overall, Gerace said, people were angry about the series being canceled and had trouble coming to terms with it.

“’They didn’t feel closure,’ he said. ‘But they felt incredibly grateful for what the series had given them. It had given them connections to characters, exposure to different lifestyles, and it had connected them with other fans as well.’

“The survey also measured fans’ distress about no longer watching their favorite character on screen — what researchers have coined a ‘parasocial breakup.’ Parasocial relationships refer to one-sided connections with celebrities or fictitious characters. For example, people responded to the statement, ‘Now that my favorite Neighbours character is off the air, I feel more lonely” on a scale of “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.’

“This same measure of parasocial breakups was first used to understand people’s reactions to the end of the TV series “Friends” in 2004. The study determined that fans experienced a level of distress akin to a real-life relationship ending.”

To read the entire NBC News article, click HERE.