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A New Era of TV-Watching Behavior: Binge Watching and its Psychological Effects

  • College of Communication and Media Sciences -Zayed University


Binge TV-watching marks a new era of TV-watching behavior among youth. It is a result of dependence on new media and the widespread usage of smart phones connected to the Internet. The study investigates binge-watching among a sample of Arab residents in United Arab Emirates. It examines how binge-watching might correlate to depression and loneliness. A constructed questionnaire was designed to collect data from a sample of 260 Arab residents living in Abu Dhabi from different age groups. The results showed that YouTube and the TV program websites are the main sources that respondents use for binge-watching. The most popular devices used for binge TV-watching are smart phones and laptops. The findings revealed that binge-watching is more significant among the younger age group. Also, the results showed a significant positive correlation between binge-watching and depression, while there was no significant correlation between binge TV-watching and loneliness.
Journal of Communication
Volume VIII | Number II | May 2017
ISSN 0976 0911
e-ISSN 2249 8818
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An International Peer Reviewed & Referred Research Journal in
Communication, Journalism and Media
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Prof. Jyotika Ramaprasad
Dean, Knight Center for International Media, School of Communication,
University of Miami, Florida, USA
Prof. Bill Edwards
Department Communication, The Columbus State University, Georgia, USA
Prof. Daya Kishan Thussu
Director, India Media Centre, Communication & Media Research Institute
University of Westminster, United Kingdom
Prof. Krishna Sen FAHA
Winthrop Professor & Dean, Faculty of Arts, The University of Western Australia
Prof. Naren Chitty A.M
Chair in International Communication, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University,
Prof. Brian Shoesmith
Emeritus Professor, Edith Cowan University, Australia
Prof. Arvind Singhal
Samuel Shirley and Edna Holt Marston Professor, Department of
Communication, The University of Texas at El Paso, USA
Prof. Radhika Gajjala
Professor, School of Media and Communication, Bowling Green State
University, USA
Prof. Siva Vaidhyanathan
Robertson Professor in Media Studies & Chair, Department of Media Studies,
University of Virginia, USA
Prof. Gloria P. Ruiz
Director, Institute for Communication, Entertainment & Media
School of Leadership Studies, St. Thomas University, Florida, USA
Prof. Sree Sreenivasan
Chief Digital Officer, New York City, USA
Prof. Sundeep Muppidi
Professor & Director, School of Communication, University of Hartford, USA
Prof. Sujata Moorti
Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, Middlebury College, USA
Prof. Mark Goodman
Professor, Department of Communication, Mississippi State University, USA
Prof. Kavita Karan
Professor, School of Journalism, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA
Dr. Cherian George
School of Communication, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Dr. Nina Weerakkody
School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Australia
Dr. Adrian Athique
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Waikato, New Zealand
Dr. Rajinder Dudrah
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, The University of Manchester, UK
Dr. Susan Koshy
Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, USA
Dr Usha M. Rodrigue
School of Communication and Creative Arts, Deakin University, Australia
Dr. Sukhmani Khorana
School of Social Sciences, Media & Communication, University of Wollongong,
Prof. Zakir Hossain Raju
School of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Independent University, Bangladesh
Dr. Callum Gilmour
School of Arts & Social Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia
Prof. Vijay Devadas
School of Media, Film & Communication, University of Otago, New Zealand
Dr. Lalitha Gopalan
Department of Radio-Television-Film, The University of Texas at Austin, USA
Prof. Vijay Mishra
Faculty of Arts, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
Dr. Manisha Basu
Department of English, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA
Prof. Kiranjit Kaur
Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, University Technology Mara,
Prof. Lynn Schofield Clark
Estlow International Center for Journalism & New Media, University of Denver, USA
Dr. Pradip Thomas
The University of Queensland, Australia
Dr. Madhavi Mallapragada
Department of Radio-TV-Film University of Texas at Austin, USA
Dr. Aurogeeta Das
School of Humanities, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK
Dr. Afsar Mohammad
Department of Asian Studies, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas,
Austin, USA
Dr. Sarita Malik
School of Social Sciences, Brunel University, Middlesex, UK
Dr. Nathan Rambukkana
School of Communication Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada
Dr. Vinita Srivastava
School of Journalism, Ryerson University, Canada
Dr. Amit Sarwal
Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation, Faculty of Arts & Education, Deakin
University, Australia
Dr. Sameer Deshpande
Faculty of Management, University of Lethbridge, Canada.
Dr. Vikrant Kishore
School of Design, Communication and Information Technology, University of
Newcastle, Australia
Dr. Avantika Rohatgi
College of Humanities and the Arts, San Jose State University, USA
Dr. Pradeep Kumar AV
Department of Communication, Ministry of Higher Education, CAS-Sur,
Sultanate of Oman
Prof. J. S. Yadav
Former Director, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
Prof. B. K. Kuthiala
Vice-Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of
Journalism & Communication, Bhopal, India
Prof. Jayashree Jethwaney
Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi
Prof. J. V. Vil’anilam
Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Kerala, India
Prof. M Sarngadharan
Director, SNES Institute of Management Studies & Research, Calicut, India
Prof. T. T. Sreekumar
EFL University, Hyderabad, India
Prof. Suresh Jnaneswaran
Professor, Department of History, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Prof. Kiran Thakur
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Communication & Journalism, University of Mumbai
Prof. T. S. Girish Kumar
Professor & Chair, Department of Philosophy, MS University of Baroda, India
Prof. J. S. Giri Rao
Department of Mass Communication, Berhampur University, India
Prof. Sreedharan Josh
School of English & Foreign Languages, Kannur University, Kerala, India
Prof. Anjali Monteiro
School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences,
Mumbai, India
Prof. K.P. Jayasankar
School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences,
Mumbai, India
Prof. Anjali Gera Roy
School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology,
Kharagpur, India
Prof. Kiran Prasad
Sri Padmavati Mahila University, Tirupati, India
Dr. Siby K. George
School of Humanities, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India
Dr. Manisha Pathak-Shelat
Associate Professor, MICA School of Ideas, Gujarat, India
Prof. Manish Verma
Amity University Rajasthan, India
Dr. Baliram N. Gaikwad
Chair Department of English, Acharya and Marathe College, University of
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Dr. Swapna Gopinath
Department of English, Sree Narayana College, University of Kerala, India
Mr. Deepu Joy
Indian Institute of Mass Communication (South India Center) Kottayam, India
Dr. Devadas Menon B.
Dept. of Media and Communication, Central University of Tamil Nadu, India
Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Sony Jalarajan Raj
Editor: Dr. R C Pattnaik
Editorial Board
Journal of Communication
Media Watch
Volume VIII | Number II | ISSN 0976-0911 | May 2017
Editors Note
Free Speech after a Free Press
Research Articles
126 Y. WU & E. THORSON
Incivility, Source and Credibility:
An Experimental Test of News Story Processing in the Digital Age
Emergence of Rebellious Digital Press in Chile: Divergence, Engagement and Impact
Internet Shaping Freedom of Expression; Freedom Shaping Regulation
Social Impact of Digital Media: Growth Pattern of Facebook in the Arab World
New Era of TV-Watching Behaviour: Binge Watching and its Psychological Effects
University Students' Intention of Smartphone Adoption for
Academic Activities: Testing an Extended TAM Model
Female Bodies and Visual Fantasy: Psychoanalysis of
Women's Representation in Axe's Television Commercials
Mobile Users' Acceptance of SMS Advertising: A Permission Marketing Approach
Parental Intervention and Frequency of Mediation Styles towards Children
Watching Television in India
Social Media Usage: Barriers and Predictors in Promotion of Social Capital
Rethinking Media Policy in Anglophone Sub-Saharan Africa:
The Challenge of Community Media
Blurring the Binaries, Blending the Gender:
A Transition from Male Masculinity to Female Androgyny in Hindi Cinema
Free Speech after a Free Press
Issue Editor
Associate Professor of Communication Studies
MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada
The question of whether a population is a mob or a public is something scholars and
politicians have debatedfor as long as there has been the concept of public opinion. And
the power and possible abuse of language to move the public or manipulate the mob has
been a focus of concern for almost as long.Now, we find ourselves in an age in which
language includes images and sounds, truth is relative to ones ideologies and aims, and
communication has become a blood sport. The machinery of mass communication is
crumblingbut new devices of persuasion are becoming more powerful by
targetingindividuals, who can be studied and profiled through information mined from
social media and then addressed with tailored information delivered to them via the same
social media. The political discourse no longer reaches out to publics; it creates
them.Strategic communication targets individuals with the intention of bringing together
mini-masses of the offended, the aggrieved and the vengeful. The conversation of the
culturehas broken into diffuse and discordant appeals to special interests engaged in
conversations designed to reassure the faithful and shame the doubter. And those
conversations seem to increasingly consist of the persuasive monologic discourse that
Jürgen Habermas equated with violence.
As Reporters Without Borders writesin its 2017 Press Freedom Index report: We
have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda and suppression of freedomsespecially
in democracies (Perkel 2017). This age of post-truth is defined by a social media-delivered
discourse dominated by slant, spin, lies, distortions and derision.
(i) Russian hackers are accused of tinkering with elections in the United States and
(ii) A campaign of misinformation aimed at Central and Eastern Europe is designed to
promote Kremlin interests and undermine the E.U.
(iii) Massive use of social media in the Philippines spreads misinformation that
destroys the reputations of opponents of thug-president Rodrigo Duterte.
(iv) A U.S. president denounces the free press as among the most dishonest human
beings on Earth.
(v) Fake news stories plant ideas in the public consciousness that is so powerful that
they defy debunking.
(vi) Campaigns of derision delegitimize scientific research and undermine the political
establishment in the minds of the public.
All of this presents us with a new variation of the old question: With social media,
have we freed the conversation of the culture from the gatekeepers of mediated
communication, or are we dismantling institutions necessary to ensure the reliability,
trustworthiness and impartiality of the information we need to govern ourselves?This is
not to say mainstream media and politicians have not done much to delegitimize themselves,
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2017/v8i2/49018
Media Watch 8 (2)
with their deference to power and reflexive defence of the status quo. The crisis in the news
business has often been presented as the challenge of preservingthe old corporate, factory
news media  a self-immolating plea to that segment of the population that perceives that
system as aligned with,and dedicated to preserving, the business and political elites.
This has created a clouded public discourse ripe for the creation of what
Marxistsused to call false consciousness. And it conjures up the echoes of the so-called
Lippmann-Dewey debate over whether reason and truth can grow out of unfettered and
inclusive discussion, or whether the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd
(Lippmann, 1993: 145) will drown out the voices of reason and deliver the public into the
hands of demagogues.
Michael Schudson (2008) has argued that focusing the debate over public opinion
on Lippmann and Dewey centres the discussion on what is little more than a squabble over
the difference between representational and direct democracy. The Lippmann-Dewey
discourse is something that has been treated as having its origins in the 1920s  when
journalist and political theorist Walter Lippmann and philosopher-psychologist-educator
John Dewey were writing the works around which the debate is constructed. However, it
really sprang up over the past quarter-century, as a construct by liberal theorists arguing
over the role of media in society. What turned the Lippmann-Dewey discourse into a
debate were liberal intellectuals in the 1980s and 1990s writing at another moment of
democratic disillusion as they sought to take stock and seek hope (1032). At this moment
of democratic disillusion, it may be useful to revisit the debate and its points of contention.
Dewey and his colleagues at the University of Chicago  George Herbert Mead,
Robert Park and Charles Cooley  were fixed on the idea of communication as existence, as
a way of being that forges mobs into publics (Park, 1975) and transforms society into a
community (Dewey 1954). Deweys focus was the search for the Great Community, which
had to be forged from the cold machinery of the Great Society. This is an approach that
resonates in Habermass Public Sphere, Raymond Williamss common culture, and in James
Careys belief in the conversational public, which he described as a society of argument,
disputation, or debate (1997, 217-218). It also, however, puts immense trust in the capacity
of the public for political thought and engagement, and neglects to address the possibility
that even the smartest citizen can be taken in by a determined con man. Every Deweyan
concept should be prefaced with the phrase, In a perfect world.
Lippmann, on the other hand, was something of a thwarted idealist, forever looking
for the solution to a problem that is probably unsolvable: how to protect democracy from
the tyranny of the majority, the manipulation of special interests and the disinterest of the
public. In short, having witnessed democracy commit suicide by ballot in Italy and Germany,
his chief worry was that people might be naturally inclined to vote away the rights of their
children (1963, 216). As for the news media, as far back as the early 1920s, Lippmann had
come to the conclusion thatthe press was dominated by people whose interests were so
closely aligned with the rich and powerful that it could not be trusted to provide a coherent
world view. The best that could be expected was that the press play watchdog for the public
good, and provide enough policy information for voters to make semi-informed choices
every four years (1997). The news media Lippmann writes are like the beam of a searchlight
that moves restlessly about, bringing one episode and then another out of darkness and
into vision. Men cannot do the work of the world by this light alone. They cannot govern
society by episodes, incidents and eruptions (1993, 229). One can only imagine what he
would have made of the thinly disguised ideology and opinion that regularly erupt on
social media today.
The way Lippmanns biographer, Ronald Steel, described the Lippmann-Dewey
discourse is that the former saw the public as a Great Beast to be tamed, and the latter a
force that could be educated (1980, 218). However, there is a third interpretation: that the
public is a great beast ruled by its emotions, and can be manipulated by any force smart
enough, ruthless enough and devious enough to find ways to influence those emotions.
Lippmanns concern was that the problems that vex democracy seem to be unmanageable
by democratic methods (1997, 179-180), and that pandering to the public opinion poses
a threat to democracy while pretending to uphold it. [L]eaders often pretend they have
merely uncovered a program that existed in the minds of their public, he writes. This is a
lie, because ideas dont emerge from the mass, because thought is the function of an
organism, and a mass is not an organism.The mass is constantly exposed to suggestion
from special interests, who are out to move public opinion in the direction they wish it to
go (155).
Though he never mentioned Lippmann and Dewey by name, Raymond Williams argued
that dark cynicism and blind optimismleave a vacuum for special interests to fill(Peters,
2003), and that the discourse is not one about a distant mass of little people. It is about
all of us, and that the best and brightest are as vulnerable as the so-called massesto
messages constructed to appeal to them. We are all susceptible, Williams argues, to
people skilled in fashioning the message to suit their purposes. To believe otherwise blinds
us to the possibility that we are being manipulated and makes us even more open to
manipulation. In fact, if one were to take anecdotal evidence from the jargon-laden
faddishness of much of the current discussion surrounding the digital world, one might be
inclined to think that the vanity of the best and brightest makes them more susceptible to
As for the uninvolved masses, Williams argues that detachment is what you get
when a sullen public is confronted with persuasive monologic discourse designed to make
the receiver believe that the senders purpose is his, too. Political indifference is a hostile
and quite reasonable response to an agenda-laden message devised by the sender and
forced upon the receiver. What I have called this sullenness ... is now a very prevalent
reaction to the dominative kinds of mass-communication. ... Inertia and apathy have always
been employed by the governed as a comparatively safe weapon against their governors
(1983, 316). Unfortunately, this very sullenness has contributed to making us, as a public,
ripe for exploitation. We are all malleable, Williams warns, and the most powerful tool
for moulding us is the media, which is yoked to a philosophy of communication that
involves control and profit. When we reject this kind of exploitation, we shall reject its
ideology, and seek a new definition of communication (312).
With his Ideal Speech Situation, Habermas delivered that new definition of
communication: an open exchange of ideas by people unafraid of persecution, reprisal or
censorship and unfettered by bias or preconception, and in which statements are intelligible,
verifiable and truthful, and everyone has an equal chance to speak.However, this can serve
as both a blueprint for democratic discourse and as an operating manual for
propaganda.Follow it, and the discourse takes you wherever the truth may lead; understand
it only tosubvert it, and you can run the world.
Orwell foretold of a world in which people were bludgeoned into doing what was
desired of them; Huxley saw a world in which what was desired would be made pleasurable,
and people would be narcotized into a euphoric submission. Orwell wrote the better book;
Huxley had the more prescient vision. He saw that one need not engineer a program of
suppression and censorship, when its so much easier to create noise and fury, and glittering
Free Speech: Gorman
Media Watch 8 (2)
Carey, James. 1997. A Republic, if You Can Keep It: Liberty and Public Life in the Age of
Glasnost. James Carey, a Critical Reader. Eve Stryker Munson and Catherine A.
Warren eds. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.
Dewey, John. 1954. The Public and Its Problems. Athens, Ohio, Swallow Press/University of
Ohio Press.
Habermas, Jurgën. 1989. The Public Sphere. JurgënHabermas on Society and Politics. Steven
Seidman ed. Boston, Beacon Press.
Lippmann, Walter. 1963. Why Should the Majority Rule? The Essential Lippmann: A Political
Philosophy for a Liberal Democracy. New York, Random House. Orig. 1926.
1993. The Phantom Public. New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Publishers.
Orig. 1937.
1997. Public Opinion. New York, Free Press Paperbacks.
Orig. 1922.
Morozov, Evgeny. (2013) To Solve Everything, Click Here, New York, Public Affairs.
Perkel, Colin. 2017. Media under threat: Canada slips out of Top 20 in press freedom
index. The Globe and Mail.April 26.
Peters, John Durham. 2003. Retroactive Enrichment: Raymond Williamss Culture and
Society.Canonic Texts in Media Research: Are There Any? Should There Be Some? How
About These?Elihu Katz, John Durham Peters et al eds. Cambridge, U.K., Polity
Park, Robert E. 1975. The Crowd and the Public. The Crowd and the Public and Other Essays.
Chicago, University of Chicago Press. Orig. 1904.
Michael Schudson. 2008. The Lippmann-Dewey Debate and the Invention of Walter
Lippmann as an Anti-Democrat 1986-1996. International Journal of Communication 2,
Steel, Ronald. 1980. Walter Lippmann and the American Century. Boston, Little, Brown.
Williams, Raymond. 1983. Culture & Society 1780-1950. New York, Columbia University
Press. Orig. 1958.
distractions. And, if people are inclined to become activists, they can be placated with a
steam of online petitions and ice-bucket challenges that deliver the illusion of activism
without risk or commitment. As in Huxleys Brave New World, the enabling elementis
technology and the blind solutionism, as Morozov (2013) defined it, that comes with it. As
Habermas writes, our depolitization has been made palatable by having technology and
science also take on the role of ideology (Habermas1989, 253).
© Media Watch 8 (2) 192-207, 2017
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2017/v8i2/49006
New Era of TV-Watching Behavior:
Binge Watching and its Psychological Effects
Abu Dhabi University, UAE
Binge TV-watching marks a new era of TV-watching behavior among youth. It is a
result of dependence on new media and the widespread usage of smart phones
connected to the Internet. The study investigates binge-watching among a sample
of Arab residents in United Arab Emirates. It examines how binge-watching might
correlate to depression and loneliness. A constructed questionnaire was designed
to collect data from a sample of 260 Arab residents living in Abu Dhabi from
different age groups. The results showed that YouTube and the TV program websites
are the main sources that respondents use for binge-watching. The most popular
devices used for binge TV-watching are smart phones and laptops. The findings
revealed that binge-watching is more significant among the younger age group.
Also, the results showed a significant positive correlation between binge-watching
and depression, while there was no significant correlation between binge TV-
watching and loneliness.
Key words: Binge TV-watching, depression, loneliness, United Arab Emirates, Arab
Correspondence to: Azza Abdel-Azim Mohamed Ahmed, College of Arts and Sciences, Abu
Dhabi University, Al Ain Campus, Al Ain City, PO Box 1790, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
In the Arab Media Outlook Annual Report: Arab Media: Exposure and Transition (2015),
it was highlighted a general shift of TV audiences to other platforms that has been witnessed
on a global level, but TV as a media platform has proven resilient to this effect in the Arab
world (p: 41). Digital video recorders and the Internet have changed the way people view
television in that these technologies allow viewers to watch at their own convenience and
pace (Damratoski et al., 2011: 72). Phalen and Ducey (2012) introduced a new concept
called the multi-screen environment of TV watching, in which an individual can watch
any TV content once he/she is connected to the internet using mobile devices, computer
screens, tablets, or iPads. They predicted that technology is to enforce more people to
utilize DVRs and the Internet to watch television on their schedule without commercial
interruptions. Recently, Devasagayam (2014) stated that companies such as Netflix and
Hulu have made fortunes on giving US people the ability to watch almost any show at the
touch of a button (p: 40).
Binge-watching is a very different experience for consuming regular TV shows. It
originated in the 1980s when some TV stations in the USA started featuring reruns of
certain series episodes in marathon sessions. When DVDs becomes available for home
viewing, their high-storage capacity allowed viewers to watch entire seasons, making it
easy to say to oneself just one more (Binge watching in the U.S., 2017).
Media Watch 8 (2)
Devasagayam (2014) explained that the word bingeing is most often related to food
and obesity, as it is defined as: a rapid consumption of a large amount of substance in a
short time period (p. 40). Applying the same notion to television, Matthew and Kim (2015)
indicated that binge-watching is the experience of watching multiple episodes of a program
in a single sitting. Because of advances in technology and the relatively low cost of unlimited
bandwidth, more people are binge-watching their favorite television shows and movies
than ever before. Media bingeing is rapidly becoming the viewing habit of choice for many
television fans in the west. It seems that it would be the same in the Middle East among
teenagers and youth.
Theoretical Framework and Literature Review
It is becoming apparent that traditional television viewing is declining while internet
websites that provide instant access to television content keep growing. Studies have
shown that online video-watching among young adults is skyrocketing. Nine in ten internet
users ages 1829 say they watch content on video-sharing sites, and 36 per cent report
doing so on a typical day.(Damratoski et al., 2011: 69, 72).
Bury and Li (2015) discussed three modes of TV-watching the world has witnessed
over the past decade. They introduced an overview of these three modes connected to
specific stages of digital convergence. The first is digitally time shifted viewing, which
recorded television programming using devices, such as the DVR, PVR, and VCR back to the
1970s until the 1990s. The second is online viewing associated with computer technologies;
however, this mode blurs the boundary between television and new media. This was from
the mid-1990s until the early 2000s. The third and most recent mode to emerge as a result
of digital convergence is mobile-viewing. Itis enabled by streaming and downloading
technologies, but involves a device such a smart phone, iPod Touch, or tablet. Such devices
facilitate the viewing behavior for a longer time than via the traditional TV screen. By this
point, binge-watching emerged and nowadays has become the most popular TV-viewing
habit among people from different ages and nationalities.
Binge-WatchingA New Media Phenomenon
Binge TV-watching seems to be a relatively new phenomenon. Wheeler (2015) described
binge-watching behavior as watching back-to back episodes of the same program in a
single sitting (p. 27). Similarly, Walton-Pattison et al. (2016), defined binge-watching as
watching more than two episodes of the same TV show in one sitting (p. 3). It has been
also described as consuming a minimum of two episodes in one sitting, with a session
average of 2.3 episodes, as stated in a Netflix survey (2016). This phenomenon has not
been widely studied in the Middle East and the west.
There was an indication that binge-watching has become a daily habit for most
teenagers. Petersen (2016) found out that the schedule of the participants of his qualitative
research is determined to an extent by their binge-watching habit (p. 86). In the United
Kingdom, Stamatakis et al. (2009), indicated that over one-third of adults spend at least
four hours a day watching television. In the survey by Walton-Pattison et al. (2016),
participants reported binge-watching a mean 1.42 days/week. On the other hand, Netflix
(June 2016), the most popular website for binge-watchingin the USA, stated that instead of
one episode per week, Netflix members choose to binge-watch their way through a series
that is, finishing an entire season in one week. Arab Media: Exposure and Transition
(2015) stated that approximately 50 per cent of In the United Arab Emirates viewers spend
between one and three hours watching TV per day. Emirati nationals watch the highest amount
of television, with 53 per cent watching between three and six hours per day (p: 41).
Bury and Li (2015) concluded that while the majority of viewing still takes place in
front of a television screen, the computer has achieved secondary screen status among
North Americans and equal status among younger viewers and Europeans. Therefore,
media-bingeing is quickly becoming the viewing habit of choice for many television fans
with the intensive usage of internet among teenagers (Devasagayam, 2014: 40).
Bothun and Lieberman (2014) surveyed 1024 respondents online to learn how
consumers are using video media content. They pointed out that: Increasingly, consumers
are rethinking how they access video content, with more people subscribing to direct-to-
consumer online-streaming services, on-demand, and alternative forms of television
and moving away from the bundle (P: 3).
It is noticeable that over the past 10 years, online-streaming services and similar
viewing platforms are portals for viewers to immerse themselves in hours of endless
content. Binge- watchingis transforming the way people watch television and it might
change the economics of the industry (Moore, 2015).
Many participants in the focus group of the Bothun and Lieberman (2014) study
reported that most people do not watch a majority of TV regular channels. Having Netflix
and HBO, they know specifically what they want to watch, so they find themselves watching
so much more of the same program in one session. Devasagayam (2014) identified that the
availability of shows without commercials makes it a preferable habit to view large strings
of episodes, and is one of the motives of binge watching (p. 40-41).
Why People Binge-Watch
Some scholars studied the motive behind binge-watching and listed the various reasons
mentioned by binge-watchers. Devasagayam (2014) marked the formation of one-sided,
unconscious bonds between viewers and characters as one of the major motives of binge-
watching. These bonds are considered one of the main factors influencing bingeing
behaviors. In the same context, Tse (2016) introduced the concept of togetherness as an
important element to understand teens motivations forbinge-watching. He explained that,
. by using online platforms, audiences achieved a sense of togetherness
in two ways: by connecting to others with the same interests in foreign
programs and by re-associating with their home when they are abroad by
consuming domestic programs (p. 1547).
Kolotkin et al. (1987) concluded that people try to recreate feelings of happiness
when bingeing on media. This feeling is commonly obsessed over as people find themselves
thinking about a shows events during the day.
Many participants of Petersens (2016) research pointed that they binge-watchto
get some positive outcomes: a reward for hard work; a powerful way to experience a story;
and a relief for stressed-out students (p. 87).
Devasagayam (2014) added another reason behind the new trend of media-bingeing
that is the apparent lack of physical side effects incurred by the viewer (p: 41).
Psychological Effects of Binge TV-Watching
Sung, et al. (2015) suggested that binge behaviors are thought to be closely related to
negative feelings (p.3). Several studies provided examples of research results proving the
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correlation between binge-eating and body dissatisfaction, depressive symptoms, and
low self-esteem, such as research performed by Stickney et al. (1999), and Stice, Presnell
and Spangler (2002).
Nevertheless, Finn (1992) identified intensive television-viewing as a form of
addiction; however, Devasagayam (2014) found that binge TV-watchers do not consider
themselves as TV addicts due to the lack of visible side effects that other forms of bingeing
foster (p. 42).
LaRosa et al. (2003) stated that addicted media consumers feel compelled to
consume media despite potentially negative consequences that make continued use appear
irrational or out of control, even in their own eyes. (p. 226). Kubey and Csikszentmihalyi
(2002) specified some addiction-related criteria that might apply on heavy TV-watching:
.. using it more often than one intends; thinking about reducing use or
making repeated unsuccessful efforts to reduce use; giving up important
social, family, or occupational activities to use it; and reporting withdrawal
symptoms when one stops using it (p. 40).
On the other hand, Kubey and Csikszentmihalyi (2002) assured that watching
television, per se, is not a problematic (p. 40). The transition to problematic usage can
begin if the behavior acts as an important or exclusive mechanism to relieve stress,
loneliness, depression, or anxiety. When this problematic media use becomes excessive,
it, in turn, can cause life problems, confrontations with significant others, and an inability
to stop media consumption once started. (LaRosa et al., 2003: 230).
In a focus group study conducted by Devasagayam (2014), one individual admitted
that he had watched full seasons in a single day several times. He added that the focus
group members agreed on that the free time given over the summer forced them to watch
out of sheer boredom (p. 42). In the same context, Petersen (2016) pointed out that while
students in his study easily recognize the benefits they get from binge-watching, they fail to
see the ways their habit might hurt them (p. 77). Binge-viewers may fail to control his/her
time spent watching, although he/she can make a negative judgment on the binge behavior.
They find themselves clicking the next button for one or more episode after another, even
though they realize that there are things to do the next day or they need to sleep (Sung et al.,
Kubey and Csikszentmihalyi (2002) reported that the sense of relaxation ends when
the TV set is turned off, but the feelings of passivity and lowered alertness continue.
On the other hand, Petersen (2016) examined how binge-watching affects the social
and academic lives of college students. He stated:
For many participants, the rhythm of their day was built around binge-
watching. They scheduled a time to binge-watch and rewarded themselves
after accomplishments. While the participants downplayed or were
unaware of the effects of this new watching experience, their grades
suffered, their social lives are ignored, and the schedule is determined to
an extent by their binge-watching habit (p. 86).
Furthermore, LaRose et al. (2003) demonstrated that depression and media habits
formed to alleviate depressed moods undermined self-regulation and led to increased
Internet usagein a sample of 465 college students. Consistently, Kim, Kyunghee, et al.
(2005) found that the levels of depression and suicide ideation were highest in the Internet-
addicted group in a sample of 1573 Korean high school students. Also, Ha, Jee et al. (2007)
reported that Internet addiction was significantly associated with depressive symptoms
and obsessive-compulsive symptoms among a Korean sample. However, Lindsay and
Larry (2004) concluded that Internet use was found to decrease loneliness and depression
significantly, while perceived social support and self-esteem increased significantly.
Many recent studies proved that there is a relationship between the amount of time
spent watching television and the likelihood of eventually being diagnosed with depression,
meaning that if TV-viewing habits are excessive, a person is putting himself/herself at
greater risk of suffering from this debilitating and life-altering condition.
Wheeler (2015) found that the higher participants scored in depression and
loneliness, the more they reported watching television for both ritualistic and instrumental
purposes, and the more they reported watching back-to-back episodes of television
programs (p. 26). In addition, Sung et al. (2015) found that depression and loneliness were
related to binge TV-watching among 316 respondents between 18 and 20 years old. The
more an individual was lonely and depressed, the more episodes the individual watched
(p. 15). Derrick, Gabriel and Hugenberg (2009) found that watching favorite television
programs buffered against feelings of loneliness more so than other activities, including
eating, surfing the web, listening to music, and watching regular programming on television.
Kubey and Csikszentmihalyi (2002) concluded that binge watchers commonly reflect
that television has somehow absorbed or sucked out their energy, leaving them depleted.
They tend to express having more difficulty concentrating after viewing than before. In
contrast, they rarely indicate such difficulty after reading. After playing sports or engaging
in hobbies, people report improvements in mood. After watching regularly scheduled TV,
peoples moods are about the same or worse than before (p. 72).
It is becoming important to study binge-watchingand its possible psychological
effects on youth in the Arab world. The present study attempts to extend the research of
Sung et al. (2015) on examining the relationship between depression and loneliness, as
possible psychological effects, and binge watching. It goes beyond the university student
sample to a sample from an Arab countrythe United Arab Emiratesand of a wider range
of ages. The study also examines whether significant differences exist across demographic
variables: gender, age, education, income, marital status, and country/region of residence.
The lack of official census or academic information regarding the TV-watching habits
among Emiratis and UAE residents in general adds importance to the current study because
it gives some indications of TV-consumption habits in UAE.
Research Questions and Hypotheses
There is no literature on binge-watchingin the Arab world. This makes it important to
examine some research questions:
RQ1: What are the TV-watching habits among Emiratis and Arab residents in UAE?
RQ2: What media are used for binge-watching among Emiratis and Arab residents in the
RQ3: What are the favorite types of programs the Emiratis and Arab residents usually
RQ4: What is/are the device/s used for binge-watching among Emiratis and Arab residents?
RQ5: What is/are the place/s where respondents most often binge-watch?
Based on the literature review of the research conducted in China, USA, and some European
countries, the current research variables were identified and three hypotheses were formed
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to be examined in the current study as follows:
H1: There is a correlation between binge TV-watching and depression.
In other words, it is predicted that there is a difference between high- and low-binge
watchers in their level of depression.
H2: There is a correlation between binge-watching and loneliness
In other words, it is predicted that there is a difference between high and lowbinge-
watchers in their level of loneliness.
H3: Significant differences in binge-watching exist across demographic variables: gender,
age, education, income, marital status, and nationality.
Sampling and Data Collection
The sample consisted of 260 respondents; (135) of them are locals (Emiratis) and (125) are
Arab residents of the United Arab Emirates living in Abu Dhabi, including Lebanese,
Egyptians, Omanis, Syrian, Palestinians, Sudanese, Yemenis, and others. The respondents
ages ranged from 18 to 48 years old with a mean 25.8.
Data was collected from May to June 2016. Four undergraduate students of the
Mass Communication Department at Abu Dhabi University collected the data from Abu
Dhabi Emirate, UAE capital, and Al Ain City of Abu Dhabi. The following Table categorizes
the sample according to its characteristics.
Table 1. Sample characteristics
A constructed questionnaire, including 20 questions measuring the research variables,
was used to collect the data. The questions were written in Arabic, which is the mother
tongue of most respondents, to make sure participants fully understood the questions and
gave accurate responses.
Research Variables and Measurements
The questionnaire started with some questions aimed to learn more about TV and binge-
watching habits. These questions asked about the number of hours watching television,
type of TV content to which the respondents binge-watch, days of binge-watching and
places they prefer to binge-watch, devices used, and the preferred media for binge watching.
These questions help provide a broad idea about binge TV-watching in the United Arab
In addition, the questionnaire included measurements of the research variables.
The validity and reliability of the questionnaire were examined through a pretest among
15 per cent of the total sample. Some questions were modified and the order of the questions
was changed according to the respondents comments and feedback. Also, Alpha Cronbach
was used to assure the reliability of the measurements of the variables.
It refers to the behavior of watching more than one episode from the same TV content
consecutively in the same session. Three questions were used to measure respondents
binge-watching. The first asked the respondents to specify the number of hours they spent
watching back-to-back episodes from the same TV content. Answers ranged from two hours
to more than four hours per session. Those who answered two hours and more were
classified as binge-watchers. The second question asked the respondents to identify how
many episodes of the same TV content they would watch per session. Those who answered
more than two episodes were classified as binge-watchers. The third asked about the
number of days in the last week he/she binge-watched. Those who answered at least three
days were classified as binge-watchers.
The respondents were categorized into two categories according to their answers:
binge-watchers 116 (44.6 per cent) and non-binge-watchers 144 (55.4 per cent). Alpha
Cronbachá is (0.835).
Depression is defined according to the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale
(CESD)as having a despondent mood; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness,
andhopelessness; inability or lack of motivation to move; poor appetite; and trouble
sleeping (Radloff, 1977).
Depression was measured in this study by using seven items developed by Mirowsky
and Ross (1992) to measure depression among different age groups.
An eight-point scale ranging from none to seven times a day was used. The
respondents were asked how many days during the past week have they felt: sad?, felt
you just couldnt get going?, had trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep?, felt that
everything was an effort?, felt lonely?, felt you couldnt get rid of feeling sad and
depressed?, and had trouble keeping your mind on what you were doing?. Respondents
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were classified according to their answers into two categories: High depressed (15.4 per
cent) and low depressed (84.6 per cent). Alpha Cronbachá is (0.700).
According to Weiss (1973), social loneliness refers to a deficit in ones social relationships,
social network, and social support, whereas emotional loneliness indicates a lack of
close or intimate companionship. In this study, a self-reporting UCLA (University of
California, Los Angeles) Loneliness scale, developed by Russell and Ferguson (1978) and
revised in 1996 (Russell, 1996), was used to measure the respondents loneliness. It is a
four-point scale ranging from often, sometimes, rarely, to never. It includes 20 items designed
to measure ones feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Participants rated each item
as either I often feel this way, I sometimes feel this way, I rarely feel this way, I never
feel this way. Some of these items include: I am unhappy doing so many things alone; I
have nobody to talk to; I cannot tolerate being so alone; I lack companionship; I feel
as if nobody really understands me; I find myself waiting for people to call or write; and
There is no one I can turn to.
The total score ranged from 20 to 80. Then the respondents were divided according
to their answers into two categories: High loneliness (61.5 per cent) and low loneliness
(38.5 per cent). Alpha Cronbachs α is (0.862).
The questionnaire also included demographic questions asking about each respondents
nationality, age, gender, income, education, and marital status. A pretest was conducted
among 10 per cent of the total sample. Some questions were removed and some words were
paraphrased to assure the full understanding of the questions.
TV-Watching Habits among Respondents
The majority of the sample watches TV two to more than four hours a week (82.3 per cent)
and only (17.7 per cent) watch it less than two hours a week. The programs they watch
frequently are foreign dramas (36.5 per cent), Turkish-dubbed dramas (28.1 per cent),
action movies (27.3 per cent), comedy programs (24.2 per cent), and documentary programs
(23.8 per cent).
Media Used for Binge Watching
The respondents were asked what media they use for binge-watching. The results showed
that YouTube comes out on top (36.9 per cent); then the website of the TV program (23 per
cent); the cumulative episodes broadcast during weekends on TV (11.2 per cent);
downloading torrents (9.6 per cent); (7.3 per cent); Internet streaming service
(4.6 per cent); Netflix (3.5 per cent); and DVDs (1.9 per cent). Two respondents mentioned
popcorn time and kiss Anime as their main method of binge-watching.
This result is similar to what was reported by Sung et al. (2015), who found that 92
per cent of the respondents use internet streaming for binge-watching, 18 per cent are
using the program website, and 10 per cent are using download services for binge watching (p. 15).
This introduced the idea of creating content for the specific media used for binge-
watchingthat was identified by Bury and Li (2015) when defining what they called mobile
It refers to content specifically created for the mobile device or content
created for viewing on the television set or the web but viewed in whole or
in part on a mobile device (p. 295).
Favorite ProgramsRespondents Usually Binge-Watch
The results revealed that the Turkish Drama has the highest percentage (68.5 per cent),
followed by the Western Drama (31.2 per cent), Comedy Programs (26.1 per cent), Khaleej
Drama (21.9 per cent), Documentaries (16.5 per cent), and Egyptian Drama (14.6 per cent).
There are some scattered low percentages for Japanese Anime, Cooking programs, Talk
shows, Puzzles, Reality shows, and scientific programs.
Moore (2015) found that the most favorite types of TV shows that attracted university
students to binge-watch were: Fantasy (Game of Thrones), Drama (The Walking Dead),
Crime (Sons of Anarchy), Comedy (Big Bang Theory) and Action (Arrow).
Device Used for Binge-Watching
The respondents were asked about the media devices they use the most in binge-watching.
Table (2) shows the results.
Table 2. Device respondents use for binge-watching (n=260)
Method used Per cent
Laptops 26.2
Smart mobile phones 21.5
Internet TV 20.8
iPad 18.1
Personal computers CPU 11.5
All possible media 1.9
The results show laptops are the most popular devices used by respondents in
binge-watching, then smart mobile phones, internet TV, iPads, and last the personal
computers CPU.
Place in which Respondents Binge-Watch
Table 3. Preferred places for binge-watching (n=260*)
Place per cent
Home 97.1
In plane 50.3
At University 31.1
In car 23.9
In mall or coffee shop 23.9
Gem 12.7
Others 4.3
* Respondents can select more than one place for binge-watching
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The results revealed that home is the most popular place the respondents select for
binge-watching. This might indicate that other activities outside the home to which free
time is allotted are diminished recently. Being at home while binge-watching might explain
the results that 66.5 per cent of respondents binge-watch alone and 21.9 per cent binge-
watch with family members.
The plane is a location in which to kill time during the long journey. Unexpectedly,
31.1 per cent of respondents mentioned university in which they binge-watch. On the other
hand, the results showed that only 11.2 per cent of respondents binge-watch with friends.
Hypotheses Test
H1:There is a correlation between binge TV watching and depression: It is predicted that
there is a difference between TV binge-watchers and non-TV binge-watchers in their
level of depression. T-Test was used to examine this hypothesis.
Table 4. Difference between binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers in their level of
The results support the first hypothesis and showed a significant difference (p
=.004) between high and low binge-watchers in their level of depression. The mean value
explained that high-binge watchers (mean 1.379) tend to be more depressed than the low-
binge watcher (mean 1.25). Therefore, the first hypothesis was accepted.
This result backsthe research of Wheeler (2015) who found in a sample of college
students that the higher participants scored in depression; the more they reported watching
back-to-back episodes of television programs (p.27).
H2:There is a correlation between binge-watching and loneliness: In other words, it is predicted
that there is a difference between TV binge-watcher and non-TV binge-watchers in their
levels of feeling lonely. T-test showed that there is a difference between respondents
with high and low levels of loneliness in their level of binge watching.
Table 5. Difference between binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers in their level of
Binge watching Mean Std. Deviation t-test Significance
& Depression
Low 1.250 .663 8.277 .004
High 1.379 .787
df= 258
Binge watching Mean Std. D. t-test P
& Loneliness
Low 2.1944 .98434 1.814 .179
High 2.2759 .96537
df= 258
Respondents who are high in their level of loneliness tend to be high binge-watchers.
However, the difference is not significant. Therefore, the second hypothesis is rejected.
This result doesnt support Wheelers results (2015) who reported that the higher research
participants scored in loneliness the more often they reported viewing television due
toritualistic motivations (p. 27).
The results are partially similar to the Sung, et al. (2015) findings who found that
the more an individual was lonely and depressed the more TV episodes the individual
watched. They explained that those who feel negative emotions, such as loneliness and
depression, may binge-watch TV series to stay away from their negative feelings. (p. 15).
H3:There are significant differences in binge TV-watching across the demographic variables:
Gender, age, education, income, marital status, and nationality.
Binge-Watching, Depression and Loneliness among Males and Females
T-test was used to examine the difference between males and females in all research
variables: depression, loneliness, and binge-watching. The following Table shows the
t-test results:
Table 6. Difference between males and females in research variables
*NS means not significant
T-test revealed that there is a slight difference in two variables: depression (p =
.000) and loneliness (p = .005); while there is no difference between them in binge-watching.
The mean values show that the females have higher depression and loneliness levels than
This result supports Moores (2015) findings. She reported that there is no significant
relationship between females and genres of binge-watched television shows.
Binge Watching, Depression and Loneliness among Age Groups
The t-test and mean values showed that the younger the age, the higher the tendency
for binge-watching (p = .000). This indicates that the binge-watching phenomena is widely
spread among the younger age group. This result is similar to what was found in the USA
the highest prevalence of marathon-viewing is among the very young, as, presumably, they
have the most free time on their hands and the least responsibilities. Almost 42 per cent of
14- to 25-year-olds claim to binge-watch at least once a week, compared to the 30 per cent
of 26- to 31-year olds who report doing so (Binge watching in the U.S, 2017).
Table 7. Difference in research variables among age groups
* NS: Not significant
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In the meantime, the higher the age the more the respondents feel lonely (p = .000).
However, the difference is slight. As for income, the results showed that there is no difference
among income groups in their level of binge watching, depression, or loneliness. This
means that the income does not have any effect on any of the research variables.
Binge-Watching, Depression and Loneliness among Emiratis vs. Arab residents in UAE
T-test showed no significant difference between Emiratis and Arab residents of UAE
in the three research variables: binge-watching, depression, and loneliness. Also, the results
showed that education level does not make any difference in the level of binge-watching,
depression, and loneliness.
Marital Status: The variable was examined as an intervening variable between binge-
watching and both depression and loneliness. The results showed a positive effect of
binge-watchingin terms of single or married status on the research variables. The following
table shows the results:
Table 8. Difference in research variables according to marital status
The t-test showed significant differences between single and married respondents in their
binge-watching, depression, and loneliness. The results revealed the singles are higher
binge-watchers (Mean=1.72) than married respondents (mean=1.29). Singles are higher
(mean=1.344) also in depression than married. However, married respondents are higher
in feeling lonely (mean=2.432) than singles (mean=2.150).
Discussion and Conclusion
This research explored the binge-watching or marathon-viewing of TV programs and drama
among a sample of (260) residents living in UAE. It examined the relationship between
binge-watching and two psychological variables: depression and loneliness.
The results showed that 44.6 per cent of the sample is made up of binge-watchers.
They use all possible media devices to binge-watch; YouTube is the most used medium, then
the website of the TV programs. To satisfy this watching habit, some use an illegal website
for binge-watching: Downloading Torrents. Western Drama and comedy TV content are
among the top favorite TV content the respondents tend to binge-watch.
Almost half of the respondents use laptops and smartphones in watching TV content
online. This might prove the important role the new technologies play in encouraging
bingewatching. The results revealed that most of respondents tend to binge-watch alone
mostly at home. This result raises a question of isolation caused by the adoption of new
technologies, in which an individual creates a virtual zone to live in and withdraws from
his/her real life. Using a smartphone to access the social media and other websites in
order to kill or pass free time at home is a recent phenomenon that leads to many negative
psychological consequences among adolescents, teenagers, and adults in the Arab world.
Also, 31 per cent of respondents mentioned that they binge-watch at the university. This
leads to two implications. The first is that the new TV-watching behavior might affect the
academic performance of the students. The second is that respondents might binge-watch
at university where they meet their friends and classmates and use binge-watching for the
purpose of involvement and company. However, the results showed most respondents tend
to binge watchalone and only a few binge-watch with friends. This might lead to an increase
in the possibility of feeling lonely even while watching TV content.
Moreover, the binge-watching differed among the respondents according to their
demographic variables. It is higher among the younger age group less than 30 years old
and among singles and less prevalent among the older age group and married respondents.
There is no difference between males and females in their bingewatching. This is supported
by other research results conducted among university students in Hong Kong and the USA
(Statista, 2016; Wheeler, 2015; Moore, 2015, and Sung, et al., 2015). Also, it was found that
education and nationality do not make any difference in the levels of binge-watching,
depression, and loneliness.
The results showed that both depression and loneliness are higher among females
than males and higher among the older (30 years and more) than younger age group (less
than 30 years old). In addition, married respondents feel lonelier than singles while the
singles are more likely to be depressed than the married. Single respondents tend to binge-
watch when feeling depressed. In the meantime, married respondents are less into binge-
watchingwhen feeling depressed. There is an indication that females tend to binge-watch
when they are depressed or feel lonely; while it is not the case with males. These results
require more elaboration through further psychological research.
The results disclosed that binge-watchers are higher in depression scores than
non-binge-watchers. The mean value revealed that the more respondents are depressed
the more they binge-watch. Therefore, depression might make the person attempt to escape
from his condition to watch more TV content that releases the stress. This result supports
the findings of Wheeler (2015). In addition, Sung et al. 2015 concluded that depression is
related to binge watching. They specified that the more an individual was depressed, the
more episodes the individual watched (p. 15). Uses and gratification literature provide
media scholars with many signs of having escape from reality as one of the major
motivations for intensive TV-watching. Viewers tend to watch more TV to forget temporarily
about everyday life stress caused by work or university assignments or social life in
general. However, the cause and effect cannot be claimed; it is unknown whether depressed
people tend to binge-watch more for the reasons mentioned, or the binge-watching leads to
depression as viewers might regret spending many hours in one session watching a whole
session of a TV program. This might need further investigation.
The current study found no significant correlation between binge-watching and
loneliness. In other words, the difference between binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers
in their level of loneliness was not significant. This result is not consistent with the results
of Wheeler 2015 and Sung et al. 2015. Loneliness might be a result of a lack of social needs
satisfaction to have good company and social life engagements. In the meantime, the
results revealed that more than half of respondents (61.5 per cent) scored higher on the
loneliness scale, especially among females and among the 30 years and above age
group. It seems that binge-watchingis not the favorite choice for respondents to relieve
their loneliness, mainly among the higher age group. They might prefer using social media
or traveling to other Emirates to get away from feeling lonely. It is suggested more studies
be conducted on a multiple samples of the Arab countries for further investigation.
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Limitation: Although this research is limited to a certain segment of Arab population, it is
a preliminary step from which future research can stem and grow. Continuation of this
research could bring valuable information and understanding into the relational
interactions between television viewing behaviors and psychological factors in the Arab
world. The results of this research might be considered as a leading point for some upcoming
studies to further understand the new type of TV-watching trends resulting from the adoption
of internet-related technologies.
Binge TV-watching is a phenomenon that is related to media symbiosis; people are
using new media to watch TV content even more than they used to. A collaborative work
should be dedicated to identifying a specific definition of bingewatching. More research
should be conducted to test binge-watchingand its relations to other factors, such as self-
control, attachment, and well-being. Also, it is recommended more research is conducted
to examine the motivations and the expected outcomes of binge-watching.
More research might investigate and analyze the TV content that teenagers and
adult are binge-watchingto have better information on the motivations and consequences
of this new TV-watching behavior.
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Dr. Azza A. Ahmed is a professor of mass communication in Cairo University, Egypt and Abu
Dhabi University, UAE. She got many awards for excellence in research from international
conferences in USA, Morocco and Paris. She was the vice-president of the Arab-US Association
for Communication Educators. Dr. Azza was the Arabic editor of the Journal of Middle East
Media (2005-2016). Her research interest includes: television effects, media credibility, new
media usages and impacts. Dr. Azza established two mass communication programs in
English and Arabic in Abu Dhabi University, UAE. She received Khalifa Award in education
Distinguished University Professor in Teaching from United Arab Emirates in 2016.
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... 4 However, at the present time, it can be done easily through smartphones and laptops. 5 In addition, related to the television shows, video streaming services also provide various types of films, documentaries and web series. Due to its advancements, the online streaming services have become the easiest way for people to watch television. ...
... 20 People who spend more time binge-watching show higher levels of stress and anxiety. 5,9,21 Furthermore, bingewatching can be a sort of escape for individuals who feel lonely and have problems. 3,17 Other studies also point out a correlation between binge-watching and unstable emotional behavior. ...
... In fact, they felt that it has positive effects on emotional and social health, and their responses highlighted the idea that binge-watching is fun and improves social relations. A number of previous studies have concluded that binge-watching negatively affects mental health, stating that it leads to depression and provides an outlet for people with depression to escape reality [30][31][32][33]. Other studies have suggested that binge-watchers might tend to watch more episodes to alleviate loneliness [34,35]. ...
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Background Recent advances in technology and the Internet have led to the emergence of a phenomenon known as binge-watching. This qualitative study aims to explore experiences and perceptions of binge-watching behavior. The criteria of behavioral addiction were used to examine the characteristics of binge-watching behavior. Methods We recruited 25 self-identified binge-watchers in Taiwan and conducted seven focus-group interviews with them in 2019 and 2020. Before their interview, the participants were asked to complete a brief questionnaire to collect information on their sociodemographic characteristics and binge-watching frequency. Results The participants defined binge-watching behavior as consecutively watching episodes of shows with continuous content, rather than based on the time spent watching or the number of episodes watched. While they felt it may affect their daily routine, they mentioned almost no impacts on their health. Most participants emphasized the pleasure and social functions of binge-watching. This differs from previous studies, which have suggested an association between binge-watching and negative emotions. Notably, while most participants considered binge-watching to be an addictive behavior, they denied that they themselves were addicted. Conclusions Our participants generally reported positive attitudes toward binge-watching. The addictiveness of binge-watching remains controversial. Further studies exploring the possibility of addictive binge-watching and potential mechanisms are warranted.
... The viewer perspective regarding TV has also changed throughout time (Jenner, 2015). Due to this; the TV series has become a highly complex and thrilling narrative organization to keep the audience highly attached (Ahmed, 2017). Many people might involve in imaginary and parasocial relationships with television characters for the experience of belongingness. ...
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Background Due to negative consequences associated with binge _watching involving crime thrillers it has become a topic of scientific debate. It has been mediated by biopsychological parameters under the impact of cognitive and affective aspects. AimTo determine the role of Personality traits and Impulsivity in individuals with Crime thrillers Binge-Watching Behaviour. MATERIALS AND METHODS The present cross sectional study has been done through online digital media. The study recruited 160 individuals with administration of information questionnaires to get their demographic details, pattern of crime thrillers series watching, behavioral traits and behavioral impulsivity. ResultsCrime thrillers binge-watching was reported by 80 participants (50%) with female predominance (52.9%) and a mean age of 25.2(S.D.2.4) years. Crime thrillers binge watching was found to have 6.31 as the mean maximum number of episodes in a single sitting.However,no significant differences were present with regard to demographic profile of crime thrillers binge watchers as compared to crime thrillers non-binge-watchers (p value >.05).Individuals with crime thrillers binge watching were having higher score involving neuroticism and lower score involving openness and agreeableness in comparison to non binge watching of crime thrillers with statistical significance (p value <.05). Impulsivity (BIS-15), mean (SD) score was found to be higher 30.33(4) in crime thrillers binge_ watching as compared to non _binge watchers. Loss of self Control subscale score was found to be higher in female gender 29.5( mean score) as compared to male gender indicating negative consequences in female gender with more severe loss of control. Conclusion The study found Impulsivity and personality traits seem to be important pathways for crime thrillers binge watching, neuroticism is higher in binge watching while conscientiousness seems protective factor.
... Classic hedonic entertainment theories (e.g., Mood Management Theory; Reinecke, 2017) conceptualize media use as an effective means to enjoy gratifying experiences, thereby engendering positive affective states while lessening negative affective states in media users (Vorderer and Reinecke, 2015). While promoting positive emotions per se (through intensified enjoyment while viewing; Granow et al., 2018;Merrill and Rubenking, 2019) and more general positive affective outcomes (e.g., viewers' hedonic and eudaimonic well-being; Halfmann and Reinecke, 2021;Muñiz-Velázquez and Lozano Delmar, 2021), binge-watching completely falls within this framework as it has also been associated with mental health conditions which one would seek to alleviate, such as anxiety and depression (Ahmed, 2017;Tefertiller and Maxwell, 2018). Further supporting this notion is the fact that available evidence demonstrates the co-existence of hedonic motivations (i.e., entertainment, enjoyment) -best-known inducers of engagement in leisure activitiesand emotionfocused avoidance coping motivations as two main motivational factors in binge-watching (Flayelle et al., 2020a), beyond other prime-order expected gratifications such as eudaemonic (e.g., personal enrichment; Merrill and Rubenking, 2019) or socialization (Granow et al., 2018;Panda and Pandey, 2017) derived benefits. ...
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As on-demand streaming technology rapidly expanded, binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV series back-to-back) has become a widespread activity, and substantial research has been conducted to explore its potential harmfulness. There is, however, a need for differentiating non-harmful and problematic binge-watching. This is the first study using a machine learning analytical strategy to further investigate the distinct psychological predictors of these two binge-watching patterns. A total of 4275 TV series viewers completed an online survey assessing sociodemographic variables, binge-watching engagement, and relevant predictor variables (i.e., viewing motivations, impulsivity facets, and affect). In one set of analyses, we modeled intensity of nonharmful involvement in binge-watching as the dependent variable, while in a following set of analyses, we modeled intensity of problematic involvement in binge-watching as the dependent variable. Emotional enhancement motivation, followed by enrichment and social motivations, were the most important variables in modeling non-harmful involvement. Coping/escapism motivation, followed by urgency and lack of perseverance (two impulsivity traits), were found as the most important predictors of problematic involvement. These findings indicate that non-harmful involvement is characterized by positive reinforcement triggered by TV series watching, while problematic involvement is linked to negative reinforcement motives and impulsivity traits.
Video-streaming typically describes watching live or prerecorded videos online. This behavior has significantly increased over the past two years in tandem with the global COVID-19 pandemic. The literature describing this behavior is still in its infancy, therefore, it is not well-characterized and our understanding is thereby limited. Different forms of problematic video-streaming have varying prevalence rates in the literature and each requires further operationalization. Overall, the various presentations of problematic video-streaming have been found to be associated with poor mental and physical health and linked to increased impulsivity, reduced academic and work performance, and lower quality of life. This article explores the current literature surrounding the definition, prevalence, validated assessments, associated factors, motivations, and available treatments for problematic video-streaming.
People’s viewing experience has changed dramatically in recent years, with the rise of new viewing behaviours such as binge-watching and binge-racing made possible by the new media era. This study looks at how binge-watching affects several aspects of life (physical and psychological), correlating it to depression and loneliness, to test whether it affects them psychologically in a helpful way or drags them down to worse situations. Between December 2020 and April 2021, 234 participants completed an online survey that included four credible scales: the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, the Watching TV Series Motives Questionnaire, the Binge-watching Engagement and Symptoms Questionnaire and the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3). Reaching out that most viewers watch alone and plan before entering the binge cycle, but not all of them could succeed in perceiving the impact of binge-watching left on them after ending their binging. The findings revealed that binge-watching is more prevalent among younger age. Additionally, there was a partial positive association between binge-watching and depression and loneliness. Furthermore, some TV viewing motives were positively associated with depression and loneliness.
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Background: Binge-watching, the viewing of online videos or streamed content, may be associated with different types of mental health problems. The present study aimed to investigate the associations between binge-watching and five mental health concerns including depression, loneliness, sleep problems, anxiety, and stress. Methods: Academic databases of PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, ProQuest, PsycINFO, and Psych Articles were systematically searched through February of 2022. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess the methodological quality. A meta-analysis was performed on Fisher's z values as effect sizes, using a random effect model. Publication bias, small study effect, and moderators in this association were assessed. Results: Binge-watching was significantly associated with the five types of mental health concerns with the most robust correlations found with stress (0.32) and anxiety (0.25). Stronger associations between binge-watching and two types of mental health problems (depression and sleep problems) were found during the COVID-19 pandemic than before the pandemic. Moreover, stronger associations between binge-watching and two types of mental health problems (stress and sleep problems) were found in developing countries than in developed countries. Conclusions: The associations between binge-watching and mental health concerns were significant and positive. Programs and interventions to reduce binge-watching should be considered and tested.
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We now live in a digital world. Everyone is always following the latest trends using the Internet and mobile phones. The web series runs on multiple digital platforms. Web serials play an important role in India. In countries where television programming and various film and entertainment industries face strict censorship of content, web series have become a latest source of entertainment for millennial. But this is the age of the Internet, and with this technology anything is possible. This number will increase over time as more and more people use the Internet for entertainment. The entertainment industry in India has seen a surge in viewership with the recent emergence of web series. Much of the series is aimed at young people, and the web series has tons of new storylines and new creative ideas. It doesn't consist of inconsistent things that don't make sense in real life, such as black magic, ghosts, and vampires. Young people in India use their mobile phones, tablets, laptops and other gadgets to watch web series every second. This research paper is conducted to review on behavioral effects of web series on Indian youth.
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The aim of the study is to discuss differences in defining the phenomenon of binge watching, and evolution of this process, considering research perspectives and problems explored by the authors. The in-depth literature analysis of 125 academic publications for the years 2014–2021 revealed the definition most often applied in the studies. Evolution of the interpretation of the binge watching term is also offered, related to increase of knowledge of motives, modes, and effects of binging, and finally, a proprietary definition of the phenomenon was proposed.
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"Binge-watching" represents a radical shift for twenty-first century media consumption. Why do people select this method of television viewing? A survey administered to 262 television binge-watchers identified factors that influence binge watching, several of which are somewhat different than factors impacting other types of television viewing. Factors salient for regular bingers are relaxation, engagement, and hedonism. For those who plan ahead to binge, program quality (aesthetics) and the communal aspect (social) also come into play. Those who binge on an entire series in one or two days value engagement, relaxation, hedonism, and aesthetics. We also discuss the theoretical implications and future development of uses and gratifications.
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Recent reports of problematic forms of Internet usage bring new currency to the problem of "media addictions" that have long been the subject of both popular and scholarly writings. The research in this article reconsidered such behavior as deficient self-regulation within the framework of A. Bandura's (1991) theory of self-regulation. In this framework, behavior patterns that have been called media addictions lie at one extreme of a continuum of unregulated media behavior that extends from normally impulsive media consumption patterns to extremely problematic behavior that might properly be termed pathological. These unregulated media behaviors are the product of deficient self-regulatory processes through which media consumers monitor, judge, and adjust their own behavior, processes that may be found in all media consumers. The impact of deficient self-regulation on media behavior was examined in a sample of 465 college students. A measure of deficient self-regulation drawn from the diagnostic criteria used in past studies of pathological Internet usage was significantly and positively correlated to Internet use across the entire range of consumption, including among normal users who showed relatively few of the "symptoms." A path analysis demonstrated that depression and media habits formed to alleviate depressed moods undermined self-regulation and led to increased Internet usage.
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The current research examines the Social Surrogacy Hypothesis: parasocial relationships in favored television programs can provide the experience of belonging. Four studies support the hypothesis. Study 1 demonstrated that people report turning to favored television programs when feeling lonely, and feel less lonely when viewing those programs. Study 2 demonstrated that experimentally activating belongingness needs leads people to revel longer in descriptions of favored (but not non-favored) television programs. Study 3 demonstrated that thinking about favored (but not non-favored) television programs buffers against drops in self-esteem and mood and against increases in feelings of rejection commonly elicited by threats to close relationships. Finally, Study 4 demonstrated that thinking about favored television programs reduces activation of chronically activated rejection-related words. These results yield provocative preliminary evidence for the Social Surrogacy Hypothesis. Thinking about valued television programs appears to yield the experience of belongingness.
This article studies how television’s role in social togetherness has changed in the post-network context, using Taiwanese consumption of foreign programs via online sharing as a case study. Interview findings demonstrate that while audiences celebrated the personalization of online viewing, they sometimes wondered if they would become detached from society if they did not follow broadcast television. Moreover, by using online platforms, audiences achieved a sense of togetherness in two ways: by connecting to others with the same interests in foreign programs and by reassociating with home when they are abroad by consuming domestic programs. While the audiences’ personalization of online viewing is increasingly becoming a common television experience with their acquaintances and/or unknown fellow members, a sense of togetherness was attained, even though it might be less explicit than that generated in the consumption of broadcast television.
This article charts the emergence of a subgenre of reality television, recovery television, in which individuals with compulsive behaviors or addictions to unhealthy substances are profiled and reformed through a staged intervention. It argues that recovery television is instrumental to theorizing addictive spectatorship, a concept that takes seriously the notion that television may act affectively as a drug. Recovery television, it claims, helps viewers negotiate their own relationship to television consumption. Furthermore, such a negotiation augments notions of neoliberal citizenship advanced by scholars of reality television; if the genre of reality television is linked to consumer technologies of self-improvement, recovery television focuses instead on the more stigmatized—yet equally as necessary—forms of citizenship embodied by addicts. Using an episode of the reality series Intervention (A&E, 2005–13), the article contends that reality television's structuring of affect provides audiences with a motive to disidentify with its subjects—in essence, a spectatorial practice of embracing discomfort—in order to disavow one's own addictions.
Television viewership through the use of digital video recorders (DVRs) and the Internet are affecting viewership statistics. The utilization of the Internet by students to view television programs mandates that future marketing efforts be directed more toward the Internet instead of traditional television advertisements. Research focused on the television viewing habits of college students, current challenges in television advertising and marketing and the increasing use of DVRs and the Internet are investigated.
The CES-D scale is a short self-report scale designed to measure depressive symptomatology in the general population. The items of the scale are symptoms associated with depression which have been used in previously validated longer scales. The new scale was tested in household interview surveys and in psychiatric settings. It was found to have very high internal consistency and adequate test- retest repeatability. Validity was established by pat terns of correlations with other self-report measures, by correlations with clinical ratings of depression, and by relationships with other variables which support its construct validity. Reliability, validity, and factor structure were similar across a wide variety of demographic characteristics in the general population samples tested. The scale should be a useful tool for epidemiologic studies of de pression.
Describes loneliness as a natural response of the individual to certain situations and not as a form of weakness. Emotional and social isolation (as 2 distinct forms of loneliness) are delineated, as well as feelings of emptiness, anxiety, restlessness, and marginality. Examples from case studies are included. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The instrumentalist principles are applied to fundamental social theory. The concept of the public is more general than that of the state, which is the public politically organized, with suitable officials; the public itself is individuals in relations, the latter being so complex and mobile in existing publics that the whole social fabric is amorphous and inarticulate. Law, associated with the state, is the total of the conditions established for making the results of interaction somewhat predictable. The "eclipse of the public" is effectively described, with a tracing of the historical causes underlying it in the rise of democracy and associated technology. The conditions for the emergence of the public and the formation of a genuine community are found chiefly in the free communication of knowledge of every sort. The most hopeful method for such emergence is, concisely, the practical recognition of the interdependence of individual and social aspects of existence, plus free experimental inquiry. Tendencies in a forward direction are noted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)