Loneliness and Depression Linked to Binge-Watching TV

By Victoria Kim 02/06/15

According to a new study, people who are lonely or depressed are more likely to binge-watch TV.

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The more lonely and depressed you are, the more likely you are to binge-watch TV, according to researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.

The study, titled “A Bad Habit For Your Health? An Exploration of Psychological Factors For Binge-Watching Behavior” involved 316 people, ages 18 to 29. They were asked how often they watch TV, how often they had feelings of loneliness, depression, and self-regulation deficiency, and how often they binge-watch TV.

According to the results, people who are lonely or depressed were more inclined to binge-watch, in order to “move away from negative feelings.”

And those who lack the ability to control themselves, known as self regulation deficiency, were more likely to binge-watch as well. “Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously,” said Yoon Hi Sung, who conducted the study with Eun Yeon Kang and Wei-Na Lee.

Binge-watching raises some health concerns, according to the researchers. “Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching, and they are cause for concern,” said Sung.

It could affect work and relationships with others, as well, as viewers “may start to neglect” these areas of their lives. Given these potential consequences, the researchers suggest that “though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction…it should no longer be viewed this way.”

There has yet been little empirical research on binge-watching, as it is a relatively new behavior, the researchers note. “Our research is a step toward exploring binge-watching as an important media and social phenomenon,” said Sung.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr