Binge-Watching TV May Be Sign of Depression, Loneliness

Binge-Watching TV May Be Sign of Depression, Loneliness

Binge-Watching TV May Be Sign of Depression, Loneliness

Researchers say hours and hours of viewing often isn't just harmless fun

SOURCE: International Communication Association, news release, Jan. 29, 2015

THURSDAY, Jan. 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Binge-watching television is linked with feeling lonely and depressed, a new study suggests.

"Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way," study author Yoon Hi Sung said in a news release from the International Communication Association.

The study included more than 300 people. They were between the ages of 18 and 29. The researchers asked about their TV viewing habits and their moods.

The more lonely and depressed people were, the more likely they were to binge-watch TV. And, people binge-watched in an attempt to distract themselves from their negative feelings, according to the University of Texas at Austin researchers.

The researchers also found that people who lacked self-control were more likely to binge-watch TV. They were unable to stop even when they knew they had other tasks to complete.

"Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching and they are a cause for concern. When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others. Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously," Sung said.

"Our research is a step toward exploring binge-watching as an important media and social phenomenon," Sung concluded.

The study is to be presented at the International Communication Association's annual meeting in Puerto Rico, which will be held in late May. Findings from meetings are generally considered preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Mental Health America outlines how to live your life well.

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