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Personality Traits and Motivation as Factors Associated with Symptoms of Problematic Binge-Watching


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Advance in new technologies has created a new form of consuming television. Binge-watching can be highly entertaining behavior, but its excessive forms could lead to development of risk of addiction. The aim of the study was to identify psychological factors associated with symptoms of problematic binge-watching and to establish on what devices and platforms young people tend to binge-watch. The results of the study indicate that Polish university students usually binge-watch on laptops and smartphones by using the Internet—streaming platforms or other websites. Low Conscientiousness was the strongest variable related to symptoms of binge-watching from all the personality traits. Furthermore, results show that there is a significant relationship between low Agreeableness, low Emotional Stability, low Intellect and problematic binge-watching. Moreover, escape motivation was the strongest factor from all motivational variables.
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Sustainability 2020, 12, 5810; doi:10.3390/su12145810
Personality Traits and Motivation as Factors
Associated with Symptoms of Problematic
Jolanta Starosta
, Bernadetta Izydorczyk
and Małgorzata Dobrowolska
Faculty of Management and Social Communication, Institute of Applied Psychology,
Jagiellonian University in Krakow, 30-348 Krakow, Poland; (J.S.); (B.I.)
Institute of Education and Communication Research, Silesian University of Technology, 44-100 Gliwice,
* Correspondence:
Received: 11 May 2020; Accepted: 16 July 2020; Published: 19 July 2020
Abstract: Advance in new technologies has created a new form of consuming television.
Binge-watching can be highly entertaining behavior, but its excessive forms could lead to
development of risk of addiction. The aim of the study was to identify psychological factors
associated with symptoms of problematic binge-watching and to establish on what devices and
platforms young people tend to binge-watch. The results of the study indicate that Polish
university students usually binge-watch on laptops and smartphones by using the
Internet—streaming platforms or other websites. Low Conscientiousness was the strongest
variable related to symptoms of binge-watching from all the personality traits. Furthermore, results
show that there is a significant relationship between low Agreeableness, low Emotional Stability,
low Intellect and problematic binge-watching. Moreover, escape motivation was the strongest
factor from all motivational variables.
Keywords: binge-watching; behavioral addictions; personality traits; motivation; new technologies
1. Introduction
The development of multiple streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime,
YouTube, Disney + and HBO GO over the recent years has had a big effect on creating the
phenomenon of binge-watching [1]. The most common definition of binge-watching is watching
multiple episodes of a TV series in one sitting [2–4] However, it is important to mention that
scientists differ among each other about how this phenomenon should be defined in terms of the
amount of episodes watched in one sitting, the duration of the episodes or content—episodes of one
TV series or multiple series watched in one session [5–10]. Some scientists define binge-watching as
watching 13 episodes in one sitting [5,11], or define it as watching three to four or more
thirty-minute-long episodes of a TV series, or watching three or more one-hour-long episodes [4].
However, Netflix [2] and Trouleau [12] imply that this phenomenon consists of watching more than
two episodes of a TV show in one sitting. The foregoing highlights some difficulties of the
approaches in defining binge-watching. In the following research, binge-watching is defined as
watching two or more episodes of a TV show in one sitting. The development of streaming
platforms such as Netflix or HBO GO allows the viewers to watch TV shows at their own
convenience and without any commercial breaks [13,14]. These factors have altered the patterns of
consuming media, and binge-watching has become a popular and common way of spending free
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time, especially among young adults [15–17]. It should be also emphasized that advances in
technology have made it possible to binge-watch on multiple devices—individuals do not have to
binge-watch only at home by using their computers or TVs [12,18]. They can also watch their
favorite TV shows on the commute to work on their smartphones or tablets [19–21]. It can be
assumed that the accessibility of streaming platform apps and TV shows on the Internet has a
significant impact on the frequency and the amount of time spent on binge-watching [13]. Another
example of the popularity of binge-watching is the number of subscribers of Netflix, which
increased rapidly from 5 million in 2012 to 167 million in 2020 [17,22]. The market research
conducted over the recent years shows that binge-watching has become an extremely popular
phenomenon among viewers. Studies report that 62% of the American population admit that they
binge-watch regularly [23]. According to multiple studies, millennials—people born between 1980 to
2000—are the main subscribers of streaming platforms and they binge-watch more frequently
[16,17,24]. Furthermore, studies indicate that binge-watching is a gender-neutral phenomenon
[17,25]. It can be assumed that progress in new technology creates a new way of consuming media
such as TV shows and alters people’s viewing behavior. The enormous popularity of binge-watching
and the fact that it has become the most common way of consuming media are the effects of
technological advance.
Even though binge-watching is a widely popular phenomenon, there is still a lack of research
on its psychological conditions. Research has focused mainly on motivations of binge-watching
which is based on the uses and gratification theory [26,27]. It explains that people use media such as
newspapers, the Internet and television to satisfy their needs. Research based on this theory shows
that people binge-watch because it satisfies their need for entertainment and information, they do it
to enhance social relations and to escape from daily life problems, and identify with fictional
characters [4,5,10,14,27–30]. Most of the studies emphasize that the most common motivation for
binge-watching is entertainment and relaxation [5,10,14]. Furthermore, Panda and Pandey [10]
indicate that people tend to binge-watch due to a social motivation. Results show that they
binge-watch because they want to be part of the group. On the other hand, these studies also show
that people who binge-watch are characterized by escape motivation [10,14,29]. It seems important
to mention that scientists imply that people tend to binge-watch more to escape reality, which can
lead to a decrease in other, more adaptive ways of coping with negative emotions [10]. Other studies
show that some individuals use binge-watching as their strategy to regulate their emotions and to
deal with negative affective states [6,7,14].
However, there is still a lack of research in which personality traits are related to
binge-watching. Recent studies have focused on searching for the relationship between
binge-watching and the most common personality trait theory—Big Five personality traits created
by Costa and McCrea [11,31–34]. The results of these studies indicate that individuals with low
levels of Conscientiousness and high levels of Neuroticism tend to spend more time on
binge-watching. Different studies show that Impulsivity is characteristic of people who excessively
binge-watch, which can be related to lack of control and the need for instant gratification [6–8].
Research on other behavioral addictions implies that problematic use of the Internet correlates
negatively with such personality traits as Conscientiousness and Agreeableness [35,36]. Moreover,
there is a positive relationship between Internet addiction and Neuroticism, Extraversion and
Openness to experience. On the other hand, research conducted by Kayiş et al. [36] implies that
Extraversion and Openness to experience are negatively associated with Internet addiction. It seems
important to conduct studies on the relationships between excessive binge-watching and personality
traits to establish if the relationships are similar to other behavioral addiction.
The abovementioned facts and some research indicate that binge-watching can be a highly
entertaining experience, however, it may also be characterized by symptoms of addiction similar to
Internet addiction or addiction to mobile phones or video games [7,8,11,14,32,37–39]. It can be
assumed that symptoms similar to those of behavioral addiction will be characteristic for excessive
forms of binge-watching. The criteria for behavioral addiction are based on the ICD-10 criteria of
substance addictions, which consist of loss of control, changes in tolerance, withdrawal syndrome,
Sustainability 2020, 12, 5810 3 of 15
neglect of other interests, negative social and health consequences [37,40,41]. The development of
new technologies, aside from its multiple advances (such as entertaining, cognitive and social
aspects), can also lead to some psychological problems. Some studies have shown that problematic
binge-watching is related to sleeping disorders or sedentary behaviors. It can lead to neglect of
duties and loss of control over the time spent watching TV shows [8,24,42–44]. Furthermore,
research also indicates the relationship between problematic binge-watching, depression and
anxiety [9,13].
Due to the increasing popularity of the phenomenon of binge-watching, the increasing rate of
occurrence of this behavior in the group of young adults, multiple similarities between problematic
binge-watching and other types of behavioral addiction, and lack of research on the main subject, it
seems to be important to conduct studies to gain more knowledge on this phenomenon, especially
on the psychological conditions of problematic binge-watching, such as motivation and personality
traits. It is also worth mentioning that there is very little research on the subject of binge-watching.
Furthermore, gaining more knowledge about binge-watching seems to be worthwhile in terms of the
inclusion of behavioral addiction into the ICD-10 [40] and DSM-V [45].
The aim of this study was to search for the psychological factors associated with the symptoms
of problematic binge-watching. Psychological conditions in this study are understood as Big Five
personality traits and motivations to watch TV series distinguished by Rubin [26,34]. Furthermore,
the second goal of the study was to search on which devices an individual is most likely binge-watch
TV series.
The following research question were asked:
1. Which devices are more likely to be used by Polish university students to binge-watch TV
2. How and to what extent are the Big Five personality traits related to the symptoms of
problematic binge-watching in the group of Polish university students?
3. How and to what extent are motivation types for watching TV series related to the symptoms of
problematic binge-watching in the group of Polish university students?
Due to the exploratory character of this research, it was decided to not provide specific
hypotheses. However, on the basis of the abovementioned studies, it can be assumed that the
general hypothesis is: Big Five personality traits and motivations to watch TV are significantly
related with the symptoms of problematic binge-watching in the group of Polish university
2. Material and Methods
2.1. Sample
The desired sample in this study consists of 1000 participants. Due to the aim of the studies and
based on the literature, purposive sampling was used in this study. The main criteria for inclusion
were: age between 19–27, being a student, admitting to binge-watching TV series. The study was
conducted online from March to September 2018. The data were collected using the forms on Google
Platform. The research was anonymous, thus no personal data were collected. The link with the
study was shared on the Facebook groups of Polish universities, technical universities, as well as on
fan groups which gather people interested in TV shows and pop culture. Participation was
voluntary and respondents agreed to participate in the study.
The research group consisted of 1257 people. Due to incomplete questionnaires and not meeting
the criteria of inclusion, 253 people were excluded from the study. The results obtained from 1004
subject were included in the further analysis. The research subjects were students at Polish
universities, which studied science and the humanities. The sample consisted of 854 (85%) women
and 150 men (15%). Their ages ranged from 19 to 26 years old. The average age of the students was
22 years. The distribution of fields of study in the studied group is as follows: social sciences—36%,
humanities—30%, exact sciences—29%, medical sciences—5%.
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2.2. Methods
The polish adaptation of Goldberg’s IPIP-BFM-50 questionnaire by Strus, Cieciuch and
Rowiński [46] was used to measure the levels of the personality traits. This method is an alternative
method of examining Costa and McCrae’s Big Five personality traits. The questionnaire consists of
50 items and the following five factors:
Extraversion—this scale presents the level of sociability, social confidence, assertiveness,
energy and activity of the person.
Agreeableness—this trait is related to positive or negative attitudes towards other people.
Conscientiousness—this scale shows the level of diligence, ambitiousness, organization skills
and tendency towards perfectionism.
Emotional Stability—this trait shows the level of emotional reactivity and tolerance to
frustration and stress.
Intellect—this scale presents the level of the person’s intellectual openness, creativity,
imagination and cognitive needs. Furthermore, it shows a tendency for introspection and
The Cronbach’s coefficients for the abovementioned scales ranged from 0.77 to 0.88, which
indicates satisfactory reliability of the method. The intercorrelations between the constructs ranged
from 0.1 to 0,44 (p < 0.001). Participants marked their answers on a 5-point Likert scale, where 1
means very inaccurate, 2—moderately inaccurate, 3—neither accurate nor inaccurate,
4—moderately accurate, 5—very accurate.
The polish adaptation of the Viewing Motivation Scale by Alan M. Rubin was used to measure
the level of the motivation for watching TV series [26,47]. The Polish adaptation of the questionnaire
consist of 27 items and six scales:
Entertainment motivation—individuals watch TV series to feel positive emotions and to have
Motivation to deal with loneliness—individuals watch TV series to avoid feelings of loneliness.
TV shows and fictional characters become companions in their moment of solitariness. Because
of that they do not have to think about the lack of company of other people.
Informative motivation—individuals watch TV shows to seek information about themselves
and about the world. They watch TV series to satisfy their cognitive needs.
Motivation of spending free time—individuals watch TV shows because it is their habit. It also
can be their way to prevent boredom.
Social motivation—people watch TV shows because they want to establish or maintain their
social connections. This behavior allows them to spend time with their family or friends. It can
also be a topic of conversation between people.
Escape motivation—people watch TV shows because it allows them to escape daily life
The Cronbach’s coefficients for the abovementioned scales ranged from 0.69 to 0.88, indicating
satisfactory reliability of the tool. The intercorrelations between the constructs ranged between 0.09
to 0,43 (p < 0.001). Respondents marked their answers on a 5-point Likert scale, where 1
means—completely untrue, 2—a bit true, 3—very likely, 4—true, 5—definitely true.
Another method used in this study was the Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-Watching created
by Starosta, Izydorczyk and Lizińczyk [47]. The questionnaire was used to examine the symptoms of
problematic binge-watching, which can be the symptoms of behavioral addiction. It contains 30
items and the following six subscales:
Emotional reactions—binge-watching is a source of positive emotions for the individual. It can
also be a strategy used to cope with negative emotional states. It is also related to emotional
discomfort—anger, despondency, anxiousness—at moments of limited access to watching TV
Lies—the individual hides the truth about the amount of time spent binge-watching to
maintain a positive image of themselves in front of others.
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Loss of control and neglect of duties—the individual loses control over the amount of time
spent binge-watching and is unable to control their behavior. Because of this, the person can
have problems with fulfilling work or school obligations, which can lead to negative
Negative health consequences— the scale relates to problems with sleeping and with having a
regular and healthy diet, which are the result of excessive binge-watching.
Preoccupation— this scale presents the level of cognitive and emotional fascination with
binge-watching and TV shows. It is also related to the frequency of searching for information
on these topics.
• Negative social consequences—individuals lose their connection to other people, especially
their families, partners and friends, because of excessive binge-watching.
Cronbach’s α coefficients for the whole method and separate subscales of the questionnaire
ranged from 0.67 to 0.89 which indicates the satisfactory psychometric characteristic of the tool. The
intercorrelations between the constructs ranged between 0.26 and 0.61 (p < 0.001). Participants in the
study marked their answers on the 6-point Likert scale: 1—never, 2—sporadically, 3—rarely,
4—sometimes, 5—often, 6—always.
The Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-Watching can also be used to measure the level of
intensity of problematic binge-watching among Polish students. The total score of this method
determines if the risk of symptoms of excessive binge-watching occurring is low (0–60 pt), medium
(61–120 pt) or high (121–180 pt).
Binge-watching is defined as watching two or more episodes of a TV series in one sitting.
Frequency of the binge-watching sessions (once a month, twice a month, once a week, several times
a week, everyday), the average amount of episodes watched in one sitting (measured in ranges
basing on Trouleau [10]: 1–2 episodes, 3 episodes, 2–5 episodes, 2–14 episodes), devices and
platforms used to binge-watch (laptop, desktop computer, smartphone, TV, tablet) were measured
by the survey. This method also consists of some sociodemographic variables regarding gender, age
and studies of the participants in the research.
2.3. Statistical Methods
The analyses of the results were conducted by using IBM SPSS Statistic software—Statistical
Package for the Social Sciences. The first step of the analysis was measuring the correlations between
the symptoms of problematic binge-watching and psychological variables such as personality traits
and motivation. Due to the risk of committing type I error, the Bonferroni correction was used.
Afterwards, a stepwise regression analysis was performed. The aim of the analysis was to estimate
the strength and direction of psychological factors associated with the symptoms of problematic
binge-watching. Due to the large number of independent variables, stepwise regression was
applied. It allows to subsequently include the relevant variables into the model. The process lasted
until the appearance of the first factor whose level of significance exceeded the permissible values of
p < 0.05. Because of this, the models did not contain unnecessary and weak factors. The obtained
models have satisfactory prediction.
3. Results
The results show that the majority of the participants of the study binge-watch by using a
laptop (93%). It is also important to emphasize that 77% of individuals also use their smartphone to
watch their favorite series. Only 25% of the studied group also have a tendency to watch TV series
on their desktop computer. Another 25% of the subjects binge-watch by using a TV. On the other
hand, 21% of the participants use tablets. Furthermore, 89% of the participants admit that they use
the Internet to find TV shows to binge-watch. However, 39% of the research group use streaming
apps such as Netflix, HBO GO, Amazon, etc. It is important to mention that 21% of the individuals
admit that they use illegal sources in order to binge-watch series. Only 19% of the group tend to
watch TV series in the form of marathons on television. On the other hand, 6% of the group buy
DVDs or Blu-rays to binge-watch their favorite series. Furthermore, the results of the studies show
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that 37% of the participants binge-watch only once a month, 24% tend to do this twice a month.
Moreover, 19% of the Polish students binge-watch once a week, 17% do it several times a week and
only 3% do it every day. On the other hand, most of the participants in the study admit that they
watch only 1–2 episodes in one sitting (42%). However, 16% of the research subjects tend to watch 3
episodes in one session, 33% of binge-watchers watch 2–5 episodes in one session and only 8%
usually watch 2–14 episodes of a TV series. The majority of the results (70%) were characterized by a
medium intensity of the risk of development of excessive binge-watching. The lowest risk applies to
22% of the research subjects. Only 8% of the examined population was characterized by the highest
risk of developing problematic binge-watching.
Table 1. Coefficients of Spearman’s correlation between the variables.
EM 0.36 * 0.01 0.15 * 0.18 * 0.47 * 0.15 *
MDL 0.47 * 0.24 * 0.27 * 0.21 * 0.23 * 0.24 *
IM 0.40 * 0.20 * 0.15 * 0.18 * 0.47 * 0.26 *
MSFT 0.39 * 0.10 * 0.22 * 0.19 * 0.35 * 0.25 *
SM 0.001 0.08 * 0.01 0.04 0.13 * 0.01
ESM 0.62 * 0.20 * 0.37 * 0.26 * 0.34 * 0.34 *
E 0.21 * 0.01 0.05 0.03 0.12 * 0.27 *
A 0.16 * 0.07 * 0.08 * 0.10 * 0.10 * 0.28 *
C 0.16 * 0.13 * 0.38 * 0.33 * 0.15 * 0.16 *
ES 0.31 * 0.09 * 0.21 * 0.15 * 0.16 * 0.27 *
I 0.12 * 0.08 * 0.10 * 0.02 0.07 * 0.28 *
Notes: EM—Entertainment motivation, MDL—Motivation to deal with loneliness, IM—Informative
motivation, MSFT—Motivation of spending free time, SM—Social motivation, ESM—Escape
motivation, ER—Emotional reactions, L—Lies, LCND—Loss of control and neglect of duties,
NHC—Negative health consequences, P—Preoccupation, NSC—Negative social consequences,
E—Extraversion, A—Agreeableness, C—Conscientiousness, ES—Emotional Stability, I—Intellect; *
significant correlations.
The results presented in the table 1 show that the correlations between the variables are not
strong, most of them are statistically significant. It seems important to emphasize that the
correlations between the symptoms of problematic binge-watching and types of motivation for
watching TV series are higher than the correlations between the dependent variable and personality
traits. Furthermore, most of the correlations between symptoms of problematic binge-watching and
types of motivation are positive. On the other hand, negative correlations are present between
symptoms of problematic binge-watching and personality traits. The strongest positive correlations
occur between Emotional reactions, Motivation to deal with loneliness and Escape motivation.
Preoccupation correlates moderately with Entertainment motivation, Informative motivation,
Motivation for spending free time and Escape motivation. Furthermore, Loss of control and neglect
of duties correlates positively with Escape motivation. Moreover, Emotional Stability correlates
negatively with Emotional reactions and Escape motivation. Conscientiousness also correlates
negatively with Loss of control and Neglect of duties.
Subsequently, the stepwise regression analyses were performed to obtain the factors associated
with the symptoms of problematic binge-watching. The results of the analyses are presented in
Table 2.
Table 2. Stepwise regression model explaining the independent variables.
Dependent Variable Independent Variable
Emotional reactions
Adjusted R2 = 0.493, F(9,994) = 110, 1; p < 0.001
Entertainment motivation β = 0.089 ***
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Motivation to deal with loneliness β = 0.192 ***
Informative motivation β = 0.237 ***
Social motivation β = 0.080 ***
Escape motivation β = 0.343 ***
Agreeableness β = 0.082 ***
Emotional stability β = -0.093 ***
Intellect β = 0.084 ***
Adjusted R2 = 0.125, F(9.994) = 17.08, p < 0.001
Entertainment motivation β = 0.144 ***
Motivation to deal with loneliness β = 0.125 ***
Informative motivation β = 0.197 ***
Escape motivation β = 0.150 ***
Extraversion β =0.111 ***
Agreeableness β = 0.073 *
Conscientiousness β = 0.096 **
Intellect β = 0.076 **
Loss of control and neglect of Duties
Adjusted R2 = 0.270, F (9.994) = 42.89, p < 0.001
Escape motivation β = 0.279 ***
Extraversion β = 0.093 **
Conscientiousness β = 0.317 ***
Emotional stability β = 0.076 **
Intellect β = 0.078 **
Negative health consequences
Adjusted R2 = 0.175, F(8.995) = 27.88, p < 0.001
Motivation to deal with loneliness β = 0.079 *
Informative motivation β = 0.126 ***
Escape motivation 0.112 **
Extraversion β = 0.077 *
Agreeableness β = 0.068 *
Conscientiousness β = 0.268 ***
Adjusted R2 = 0.360, (8.995) = 70.66 p < 0.001
Entertainment motivation β = 0.260 *
Informative motivation β = 0.327 *
Motivation to spend free time β = 0.101 *
Agreeableness β = 0.07 *
Emotional stability β = 0.068 *
Intellect β = -0.063 *
Negative social consequences
Adjusted R2 = 0.360, F(10.994) = 31.85, p < 0.001
Informative motivation β = 0.214 ***
Escape motivation β = 0.161 ***
Extraversion β = 0.115 ***
Agreeableness β = 0.185
Notes: *, p < 0.05, ** p < 0.01, *** p < 0.001.
The obtained results indicate that the strongest relationship occurred between Emotional
reactions and Escape motivation. The higher the Escape motivation, the higher the Emotional
reactions of individual who binge-watch. Informative motivation, Motivation to deal with loneliness
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and Entertainment motivation also have a positive impact on the dependent variable. On the other
hand, Emotional stability, Intellect, Agreeableness and Social motivation are also significantly
associated with Emotional stability. The abovementioned variables have a negative impact on the
dependent variable. It means that the higher the Emotional reactions score, the lower the levels of
these independent variables. These factors explain the variable of Emotional reactions being at 50%.
Subsequently, Informative motivation and Escape motivation are positively associated with the
variable Lies. Other significant factors are Motivation to deal with loneliness and Entertainment
motivation. However, the strongest factors associated with this variable among the personality traits
are Conscientiousness, Intellect and Agreeableness. The character of the impact of these three factors
is negative. On the other hand, Extraversion has a positive impact on this dependent variable, which
means that the higher the levels of Extraversion, the more an individual lies about their
binge-watching behavior.
On the other hand, a low level of Conscientiousness and a high level of Escape motivation are
the strongest factors for Loss of control and neglect of duties. It is important to mention that the
majority of the factors related to this variable are personality traits. Emotional Stability and Intellect
have a negative impact on the dependent variable. Only Extraversion has a positive impact on Loss
of control and neglect of duties. The model explains 27% of the dependent variable.
The results of the statistical analysis show that the strongest relation is between
Conscientiousness and Negative health consequences. The effect of the factor is negative, which
means that experiencing negative health consequences from problematic binge-watching is more
characteristic of the less conscious people. Other weaker but also significant psychological factors
were Informative motivation, Escape motivation, Motivation to deal with loneliness, all of which
have a positive effect on the dependent variable. However, personality traits such as Agreeableness
and Extraversion have a weaker and negative impact on Negative health consequences.
The results show that three personality traits—Agreeableness, Emotional Stability and Intellect,
proved to be the significantly associated with Preoccupation. Statistical analysis shows that these
personality traits have a negative effect on these symptoms of problematic binge-watching. This
means that people with low levels of these personality traits are more emotionally and cognitively
engaged in binge-watching behaviors. Furthermore, the motivational factors for this dependent
variable were Entertainment motivation, Informative motivation and Motivation to spend free time.
All have a positive effect on the variable. This model explains 36% of the dependent variable.
Furthermore, only four variables are significantly associated with Negative social
consequences. The personality traits related to symptoms of problematic binge-watching were
Agreeableness and Extraversion. The impact of these variables is negative. However, Informative
motivation and Escape motivation are significant motivational factors. This model also explains 36%
of the dependent variable.
To sum up, Conscientiousness is the strongest factor among all personality traits. It is especially
visible in predicting such variables as Loss of control and neglect of duties and Negative health
consequences. However, Escape motivation is the strongest factor among motivational variables. It
is a predictor of five symptoms of problematic binge-watching. It seems to be worth emphasizing
that the motivational variables proved to have a higher predictive value than the personality traits.
Furthermore, the impact of the motivational variables was always positive, which means that the
higher the motivation to watch series, the higher the symptoms of problematic binge-watching. On
the other hand, personality traits almost always have a negative impact on the dependent variable.
The only exception of this was Extraversion.
4. General Discussion
The results show that young adults most often binge-watch TV series on their laptops or mobile
phones. Furthermore, most of them use the Internet—streaming platforms and other websites, to do
it. Surveys confirm that computers and mobile phones are the most common choice of device for
binge-watching [12,17]. It can be assumed that the advances of new technologies have made
binge-watching on these kind of device more accessible than the old format of consuming shows on
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the television. Individuals decide where they binge-watch and how many episodes they view.
Moreover, this kind of device can create the possibility to binge-watch TV series at work and at
school. Studies show that 67% of viewers choose to binge-watch in public [19]. It can be assumed
that the accessibility of binge-watching can contribute to the increasing scale of the phenomenon and
consuming an excessive number of episodes.
The result of the regression shows that there is a stronger relation between the motivational
variables and the symptoms of problematic binge-watching than between the personality traits and
the symptoms of problematic binge-watching. However, low Conscientiousness was the strongest
factor of all Big Five personality traits. It can be assumed that the person who excessively
binge-watches can lose control of the amount of time spent watching TV series, which can lead to
neglecting chores, school or work, and worse academic results. Furthermore, it can lead to poorer
quality of sleep and insomnia [43,48]. Similar results about the relationship between binge-watching
and Conscientiousness are presented in the studies conducted by Govaert [11], Chamblis [31] and
Tóth-Király et al. [32]. The results of the research show that there is a weaker but also a significant
relationship between the symptoms of problematic binge-watching and low Emotional Stability.
Neuroticism is related to impulsivity, a tendency to feel negative emotions, low adaptation to
frustration and stressful situations [49]. Such results seem to comply with research which implies
that problematic binge-watching can be related to the regulation of negative emotions, impulsivity,
loss of control and regret [7,8,38,50]. Furthermore, Tóth-Király et al. [32] and Pittman and Steiner
[33] imply that neuroticism is related to binge-watching and it is also a significant predictor of
Internet addiction [36,51,52]. Another significant factor for all symptoms of problematic
binge-watching, apart from Loss of control and neglect of duties, was low Agreeableness. On the
basis of the criteria of Internet addiction created by Woronowicz [41] on the grounds of ICD-10 [40],
it can be assumed that people who excessively binge-watch may be resistant and continue their
behavior despite negative social and health consequences; they can also lie about the amount of time
spent watching TV series, which could lead to misunderstandings and difficulties in their social life.
The results also indicate that low Intellect is positively related with most of the symptoms of
problematic binge-watching, which complies with results regarding other behavioral addictions
[36,53]. Intellect is related to Openness to experience, with a tendency for introspection and cognitive
needs. Low levels of this personality trait are also characteristic of social media addiction and mobile
phone addiction. It can be assumed that people who binge-watch problematically may not be
curious about other forms of activity [10]. Such a situation could be explained by the loss of other
forms of pleasure or the fact that the virtual reality can satisfy their needs for stimulation and
information [10,36,40]. On the other hand, the results of the study show that Extraversion has a
negative relationship with Negative social consequences and a positive effect on the variable Lies.
Extraversion is related to sociability; however, studies show that most people tend to binge-watch in
solitude and that excessive binge-watching can be related to spending more time on watching TV
series than with family or friends [15,54]. Binge-watching in solitude and lack of the communication
with others could lead to a feeling of loneliness and abandonment. One can assume that these
negative emotions could lead to further isolation and create a vicious circle, which is also
characteristic of other forms of addiction to new technologies [36,55–57].
Escape motivation was the strongest factor for most of the symptoms of excessive
binge-watching. Many studies on behavioral addiction showed that the Internet, video games, social
media and shopping can be a way to avoid daily life problems [4,7,10,58–61]. The results of the
research show that excessive binge-watchers have a tendency to use these behaviors as a strategy to
regulate their emotions [7]. Moreover, Panda and Pandey [10] imply that the reasons for more
frequent engagement in binge-watching to escape reality could lead to the decreased use of other,
more adaptive ways of coping with negative emotions. Furthermore, Govaert [11] indicates that
binge-watchers tend to cope with stress using avoidance and emotional coping, instead of
task-oriented coping mechanisms. Due to the similarity between other behavioral addictions and the
results of this research, it can be assumed that problematic binge-watchers binge-watch as a coping
mechanism. Individuals may escape into a fictional world to avoid negative emotions and problems.
Sustainability 2020, 12, 5810 10 of 15
Conlin [3] showed in her study that binge-watching can be very immersive behavior, which is
related to high cognitive and emotional engagement with fictional history. The immersive character
of this behavior and the accessibility of streaming platforms may facilitate a viewer’s escapism. The
statistical analysis shows that Informative motivation is associated with almost all symptoms of
problematic binge-watching except Loss of the control and neglect of duties. It can be assumed that a
person may want to access all the information presented in the TV series, thus the individual starts
to become emotionally and cognitively engaged in this behavior. Shim and Kim [50] emphasize that
the need for cognition can motivate a person to binge-watch more and may also increase other
binge-watching motivations. It is important to mention that compulsive information seeking is also a
part of Internet addiction [37]. One can assume, that viewers may seek knowledge about the world,
relations or the solutions of problems in TV series. It seems to be important to establish what kind of
information the viewers are searching for while they are binge-watching. Furthermore, in relation to
cognitive needs, it would also be important to examine the relationship between binge-watching and
cognition, for example how binge-watchers, problematic binge-watchers and non-binge-watchers
differ from each other in terms of preserving and recalling the information from watched TV series.
Another motivation significant for symptoms of problematic binge-watching was Motivation to deal
with loneliness, which was significantly related with Emotional reactions, Lies and Negative health
consequences. Studies conducted by Wheeler [9] show that people who are depressed or feel lonely
have a stronger tendency towards problematic binge-watching. They also create parasocial
relationships with fictional characters. The emotional engagement in these relationships was similar
to real relationships. This fictional character may become a companion in their loneliness [47]. On
the other hand, Entertainment motivation was related to Emotional reactions, Lies and
Preoccupation. Binge-watching is a highly entertaining behavior, which provides positive emotions
and fun [3–7,10,27,29,30,33]. It is also emotionally and cognitively engaging. People watch TV shows
to fulfil their hedonistic needs and to feel positive emotions. Furthermore, Motivation to spend free
time was also a significant factor for Preoccupation. It means that binge-watching is a way to avoid
boredom, to spend free time alone or with friends and feel emotionally and cognitively engaged in
the narrative. Some research indicates that binge-watching can be a habit, something that people just
do to avoid boredom [10].
It also seems important to mention that the global pandemic of COVID-19 can lead to more
frequent binge-watching behaviors. People have to stay at home and practice social distancing, so to
fulfil their needs and to cope with boredom or anxiety, they can look for an entertaining way to
spend their time. As Conlin said [3], binge-watching is highly immersive and engaging behavior,
which seems to be also a method to regulate emotions [6,7]. It seems to be important to study in
particular the motivations to binge-watch in pandemic times. People may binge-watch for
entertainment purposes and to cope with boredom. However, they can also binge-watch TV series to
escape the anxiety triggered by worries about the difficulties related to a disease pandemic. They can
also do it to prevent loneliness in times of isolation. On the other hand, binge-watching can be also a
way to spend some time with friends during online live chats or by using plugins such as “Netflix
party”. These results have been confirmed in a study conducted by Dixit et al. [62]. They also
emphasize that 28% of the studied population had lost control over their binge-watching behaviors
even though they have tried to control them. They also fear how binge-watching can affect their
future work. Due to engaging in fewer activities, it could be easier to lose control over the amount of
binge-watched episodes or to spend an entire day on binge-watching another TV show. People can
become accustomed to gaining instant gratification in the form of watching another episodes of a TV
series in a lockdown period, which could contribute to the occurrence of some forms of behavioral
addiction and withdrawal symptoms after the lockdown [63]. Due to the abovementioned facts, it is
important to study the subject of binge-watching during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to
examine the development of the phenomenon in its positive and negative forms.
5. Limitations of the Study
Sustainability 2020, 12, 5810 11 of 15
The first limitation of the study is the homogeneous character of the group, which was an effect
of purposive sampling. The research was conducted on a group which consisted of only young
people aged between 19 to 26. Due to the lack of results obtained from people in their adolescence,
adulthood and older age, it is hard to generalize the obtained predictors for people of different ages.
The second limitation of the study was related to the unequal numbers of women (n = 854) and men
(n = 150). The differences in quantity between the two genders were so large that it could have
affected the results of the research. Such large preponderance of women could be the result of the
following reasons. First, women are more likely to participate and complete online studies than men
[64]. Moreover, it seems to be important to emphasize that the link with the study was uploaded on
Facebook. Research shows that women tend to use social media platforms more frequently than men
[65]. Second, watching TV series could be more popular among the group of Polish women than in
the group of young Polish men, who could prefer other ways of spending free time. Some studies
indicate that binge-watching is gender neutral phenomenon [17,25]. However, systematic reviews
concerning the phenomenon of binge-watching show that women were the majority of the
participants in most of these studies [14,66]. It can be assumed that binge-watching as a topic of
research may be more interesting for women. Third, the survey was posted on a group for the
humanities and social studies, where women are the majority of students. Furthermore, women are
the majority of the student body at Polish universities [67]. Undoubtedly, there is a need to conduct
research on more diversified groups in terms of age and gender.
6. Conclusions
To summarize, young Polish students tend to use a laptop or a mobile phone to binge-watch TV
series, which makes it accessible at any time and place. Motivational factors of symptoms of
problematic binge-watching are stronger than the Big Five personality traits. The character of the
relationship between the symptoms of problematic binge-watching and motivational variables is
positive. Personality traits have the opposite effect. The strongest factor associated with the
symptoms of problematic binge-watching is Escape motivation. It can be assumed that people who
excessively binge-watch do it to avoid daily life problems. Individuals can use it as a strategy to cope
with negative emotions. On the other hand, low Conscientiousness was the strongest factor out of all
the personality traits. It can be assumed that people with low Conscientiousness are characterized by
higher levels of symptoms of problematic binge-watching. They may lose control over the time spent
on binge-watching, neglect school, work and duties and have to deal with negative health and social
consequences of excessive binge-watching. Low Agreeableness, low Emotional Stability and low
Intellect are weaker but also significant factors related to the symptoms of problematic
Technological advances create new ways of entertainment but also new types of danger in the
shape of new types of behavioral addictions. There is a thin line between highly entertaining
binge-watching and problematic binge-watching which is characterized by symptoms of addiction.
This could also affect not only the life and well-being of the individual, but also their social
environment. The understanding of predictors of symptoms of problematic binge-watching is
important in terms of prevention and therapeutic care, especially among young people—children,
adolescents and young adults, who are used to operating in the world of new technologies that can
be useful as well as dangerous for their mental health. The excessive binge-watching can contribute
to worse academic or school achievements, can be a distraction from work or duties and can have an
effect on the social relations of the person. Because of that, it could be important to create prevention
programs for young people to educate them about the risk factors and consequences of excessive
binge-watching. Undoubtedly, there is a need for further research on the psychological conditions of
binge-watching for a better understanding of this highly popular phenomenon.
Author Contributions: Conceptualization, M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; methodology, M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; formal analysis,
M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; investigation, M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; resources, M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; data curation, M.D.; B.I.; and
J.S; writing—original draft preparation, M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; visualization, M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; supervision, M.D.;
Sustainability 2020, 12, 5810 12 of 15
B.I.; and J.S.; project administration, M.D.; B.I.; and J.S.; funding acquisition, M.D. All authors have read and
agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding: The publication is financed within the framework of the program titled “Dialogue” introduced by the
Minister of Science and Higher Education between 2016–2019.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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... However, it can lead to the neglect of study or work obligations, as well as to a disturbance in the quality and quantity of sleep, which further reduces the productivity of the individuals concerned. The transfer of fictional content to reality can affect its incorrect reception and make it difficult to build relationships with other people, thus exacerbating low self-esteem and loneliness [4,16,17]. Depressive-anxiety disorders can cause the cognitive disorder of binge-watching, but simultaneously, in a vicious circle mechanism, this process exacerbates the aforementioned conditions. After a binge-watching session, such viewers may feel even more socially isolated than before. ...
... Warto podkreślić, że zjawisko binge-watching nie jest równoznaczne z uzależnieniem. Jednakże, może ono prowadzić do zaniedbywania obowiązków związanych z nauką lub pracą, a także wiązać się z zaburzeniami jakościowymi i ilościowymi snu, co dodatkowo obniża produktywność.. Przenoszenie treści fikcyjnych na rzeczywistość może wpływać na jej nieprawidłowy odbiór oraz utrudniać budowanie relacji z innymi ludźmi, tym samym pogłębiając niskie poczucie własnej wartości oraz samotności [4,16,17]. Jak wyżej wspomniano zaburzenia depresyjno-lękowe mogą powodować zaburzenie poznawcze binge-watching, ale jednocześnie w mechanizmie błędnego koła ten proces nasila wyżej wspomniane schorzenia. Po zakończeniu sesji binge-watching widzowie mogą odczuwać jeszcze większą izolację społeczną, niż wcześniej. ...
Full-text available
Introduction: With the increase in popularity of VOD (Video on Demand) platforms, there has been an increase in binge-watching and associated processes, which may influence the development of ‘mean world syndrome’. The aim of this study is to analyse current knowledge of the above phenomena and their interrelationships. Material and methods: A narrative review of the available literature was conducted by searching PubMed and Google Scholar databases using the following keywords: binge-watching, mean world syndrome, fear of missing out (FOMO), speed-watching from 2000 to 2021 Results: The most important motivations for the development of binge-watching are social aspects, fear of missing out (FOMO), hedonistic needs and escape from reality. The process is exacerbated by depressive-anxiety disorders, loneliness, pathological overeating and neglect of responsibilities. To save time, viewers often practice speed-watching. A positive correlation has been shown between the severity of binge-watching and mean-world syndrome in viewers who watch series such as: House of Cards, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Marco Polo, Bloodline and Daredevil, as well as the frequency of watching horror films and viewers’ belief that they are more likely to die. In contrast, no relationship was shown with fear for safety in one’s home. People, who watch reality shows with a competitive scenario, perceive the world to be more hypocritical and manipulated. Conclusions: Compulsive viewing of violent programmes co-occurs with the phenomena of FOMO and speed-watching and can exacerbate the perception of the world as a dangerous place. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, both phenomena have increased, affecting the functioning of society.
... FGD participants said that generally, they would fill it by watching TV when they have free time. This fact is in line with the researchers's findings who state that watching television is used to fill the spare time or pass the time when the audience does not have any activities (Castro, Rigby, Cabral, & Nisi, 2021;Ort, Wirz, & Fahr, 2021;Starosta, Izydorczyk, & Dobrowolska, 2020). ...
... The next determinant factor that influences viewers of choosing television channels is the motive for releasing stress. This motive is in line with several studies such as Gurlen & Sukhmani (2011), Havrylets et al., (2018, dan Starosta et al. (2020). All researchers said that the motive for releasing stress was closely related to choosing television channels. ...
This qualitative research article aims to explain the determinant factors that influence viewers to choose TV's channels in the disruptive era. In the period triggered by the increase of the internet and digital technology, many innovations emerged, potentially disturbing and destroying the old system. Loyalty in the broadcasting industry of the disruptive age is temporary and can change quickly. Viewers effortlessly change their TV channels according to their interests and desires. Therefore, TV managers have to pay attention to various factors on TV's audience to choose TV channels. These determinant factors occupy a prominent position among TV station managers in Indonesia and around the globe as an essential contrive to grab the attention of TV viewers. Primary data was dig using the focus group discussion (FGD) before the Covid-19 pandemic occurred. The authors conducted five FGDs involving 9-12 participants in each FGD. This research found that there are 23 determinant factors influencing audience in choosing TV channels in the disruptive era. The 23 factors are divided into four categories namely, TV program content, audience's purposes, corporate action, and community influence. The conclusion is, from four determinants factors, the range of TV content comprises the most varied category. In contrast, community influence factor occupies the last position with one variation.
... The finding shows that Impulsivity & Depressive symptoms were negatively associated with binge watching and only one trait Conscientiousness was significant proportion to binge watching. Starosta et al. (2020) identified the psychological factors which are associated with the symptoms of problematic binge watching. 1000 participants were included in the study where 850 were women & 150 were men with age groups of 19-27 years. ...
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In largest population country every fifth person is adolescent in age between 10 to 19 years. As they grow with many basic issues like reproductive health problem, sexually transmitted diseases, nutritional deficiencies & mental health problems. Different problems are faced on the basis of rural or urban area. In urban area problems are more related to abuse of alcohol, less sex education, inferiority complex, exam or education stress, social relationship, habit forming drugs & so on. In this sensitive age, they get stuck unintentionally in chaos where they find harsh & difficulties. In addition, binge watching is highly trendy in all age group & it was found greater in the lockdown. Every single person indulges in binge watching for their own reason & entertainment. Firstly, no research was done on adolescent in terms of binge watching. As we are well versed this time every teenager using cell phone & electronic device. Most probably their decision making can be stumble that how to use in appropriate way, what to watch, read & listen, play game and etc. The purpose of the research is to find out binge watching among adolescent & to find out correlation between binge watching & loneliness. A mass of sample is 60 where 30 were boys & 30 were girls respectively. A purposive sampling was used & age criteria was 14 to 18 adolescents. Here independent variable are adolescents (Boys and Girls) & dependent variables are binge watching & loneliness. The two questionnaires were used a self-made questionnaire for binge watching & Loneliness Scale (Social relationship, Interpersonal relationship, Distreved reaction, social isolation, Emptiness) by Adnan Hamid & Mohammad Parvez. A descriptive statistical analysis was done for the result. The research has shown significant correlation between binge watching & loneliness among adolescents.
... Escape motive being the strongest predictor of PMW was in line with previous studies in behavioral addictions literature reporting that individuals' motivation for escaping their reality and negative mental state was an important indicator of their elevated engagement in other online problematic behaviors including internet gaming disorder (Marino et al., 2020), internet addiction (Yang, Morita, Ogai, Saito, & Hu, 2021), and problematic binge-watching (Starosta, Izydorczyk, & Dobrowolska, 2020). Watching mukbang with the motivation of compensating real life eating was the second strongest predictor of PMW after escape. ...
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Growing empirical evidence suggests that an emerging online activity (i.e., mukbang watching) may be associated with negative mental and physical health outcomes. However, a large gap in the psychology of mukbang watching still remains. Based on the extant literature, the present study developed and validated psychometric instruments to assess problematic (e.g., addictive) mukbang watching (PMW) and mukbang watching motivations. An online survey was administered to 604 adults (51% female; Mage=24.29 years; SD=6.25) who were mukbang watchers. Construct validity and convergent validity analyses indicated the Problematic Mukbang Watching Scale (PMWS) comprising three factors (i.e., denial, compulsion, and loss of control) and the Mukbang Watching Motives Scale (MWMS) comprising six factors (i.e., entertainment, sexual reasons, compensation, discovery, groupie reasons, and escape) had robust psychometric properties. Furthermore, PMW was positively associated with sexual, compensation, and escape motives for mukbang watching while controlling for daily time spent watching mukbang, daily number of different mukbang videos watched, and the total number of different mukbangers (i.e., the individuals in the broadcasts) regularly followed. Consequently, the present study contributes to the extant knowledge on the psychology of mukbang watching with two newly developed psychometrically robust assessment tools that can be used in future research.
... The majority of research shows that people tend to bingewatch TV series for entertainment and relaxation (5,38,39). On the other hand, authors have also emphasised the roles of escapism and coping with loneliness in peoples' engagement with binge-watching behaviours (11,(39)(40)(41). Thus, it becomes clear that people often use binge-watching as a way to seek a sense of positive gratification in order to escape negative emotions. ...
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Recently, the question about the potentially problematic characteristics of binge-watching behaviours has been raised in the contemporary literature. Binge-watching is a highly popular behaviour that involves watching multiple episodes of TV series in one sitting. Studies show that binge-watching can be both an entertaining, but also a potentially problematic, behaviour. Therefore, this research aimed to answer the question about how impulsivity, difficulties in emotional regulation, and one's motivations around why they want to watch a TV series predict problematic binge-watching among a group of Polish young adults. The research group consisted of 645 participants. The following tools were then used to measure the study variables: the Impulsive Behaviour Scale, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, the Viewing Motivation Scale, and the Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-watching. Furthermore, a regression analysis was performed on the responses to each measure in order to answer our research questions. Our results show that a lack of premeditation, impulse control difficulties, and having an escapist motivation are all significant predictors of problematic binge-watching behaviours. Furthermore, one's motivations around dealing with loneliness, their motivations around how to best spend their free time, as well as their informative and entertaining motivations were also found to be significant predictors of problematic binge-watching behaviours.
In recent years, binge-watching becomes a highly popular way of spending free time. Even though binge-watching usually is related to entertainment, there are concerns about some negative and unhealthy outcomes of excessive form of this behavior. The study examined the predictive value of anxiety-depressive syndrome in explaining the symptoms of problematic binge-watching and the tendency to adopt a specific motivation to watch series. Research group consists of 645 Polish young adults. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Depression Measurement Questionnaire, Viewing Motivation Scale, and Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-Watching were used in this study. The results of the path analysis show that anxiety-depressive syndrome and motivation to watch TV series are the significant factors in the manifestation of all symptoms of problematic binge-watching. Moreover, there is a significant relation between anxiety-depressive syndrome and motivation to watch TV series, which especially concerns escape motivation and motivation to deal with loneliness. Furthermore, motivation to deal with loneliness, escape motivation, and motivation to spend free time have mediating effect on the relationship between anxiety-depressive syndrome and problematic binge-watching. Results of this research show that there could be not only normative binge-watching behavior but also unhealthy and problematic form of this behavior.
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Binge-watching is a relatively new behaviour pattern whose popularity has been increasing since 2013, ultimately to become one of the most popular ways of spending free time, especially among young people. However, there is still a dearth of research on this phenomenon. The aim of this study is to present the current understanding and psychological conditions of binge-watching, as provided in the research papers published between 2013 and 2020. This systematic review, including 28 articles, addresses different approaches to defining this behaviour, diverse motivations, personality traits, and risks of excessive binge-watching. Its results imply that there are two perspectives in understanding binge-watching. The first is related to entertainment, positive emotions, cognition, and spending free time. However, the second perspective emphasises the negative outcomes of excessive binge-watching and symptoms of behavioural addiction. There is undoubtedly a need for further research to be conducted on diversified populations to reach more profound understanding of binge-watching behaviour patterns.
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Introduction: Following the digital progress and the availability of online streaming services, binge-watching (in the literature often defined as watching >2 episodes of a TV series in one sitting) has become a popular viewing pattern. Concerns about possible negative consequences of this behaviour have arisen and its proximity to behavioural addictions is discussed. The aim of the present study was to explore how depressive symptoms, impulsivity and their potential interaction are related to the consequences of binge-watching. In addition, the possible association of the Big 5 personality traits neuroticism, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness with consequences from binge-watching was assessed. Method: An online survey including the assessment of intensity of and negative consequences from binge-watching (with an adapted version of the Short-Internet-Addiction Test and a newly developed questionnaire) and questionnaires on depressive symptoms (i.e., General Depression Scale), impulsivity (i.e., Barratt Impulsiveness Scale) and personality traits (i.e., short version of the Big 5 Inventory) was completed by 228 participants. Results: Regression analysis indicated that impulsivity was associated with loss of control and neglect of duties, while depressive symptoms led to neglect of duties and social problems. No significant interaction effects were observed. Conscientiousness was the only personality trait that explained a significant proportion of the variance of consequences from binge-watching. Discussion/conclusion: Our findings suggest that depressive symptoms and impulsivity are 2 independent pathways to negative consequences from binge watching. However, given the rather low proportion of variance proportion explained, future studies are warranted to enhance our understanding of other individual characteristics and to further clarify the proximity to behavioural addictions.
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Purpose of Review Along with the expansion of on-demand viewing technology, the practice of binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV series back-to-back) has recently gained increasing research interest, given its potential harmfulness and presumed addictive characteristics. The present article provides the first systematic review of the evidence regarding this increasingly widespread behavior. Recent Findings The results of this systematic review (including 24 studies and 17,545 participants) show that binge-watching remains an ill-defined construct as no consensus exists on its operationalization and measurement. Although such methodological disparities across studies hinder the comparability of results, the preliminary findings gathered here mainly point to the heterogeneous nature of binge-watching which covers at least two distinct realities, i.e., high but non-harmful engagement and problematic involvement in TV series watching. Summary In these early stages of research, there is a major need for more consistency and harmonization of constructs and their operationalizations to move forward in the understanding of binge-watching. Just as important, future research should maintain the distinction between high and problematic involvement in binge-watching to avoid overpathologizing this common behavior.
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The growth of Internet-distributed TV services has transformed video consumption, enhancing the level of control that viewers have over what they watch. Along with the release of entire seasons of programming at once, this has led to the phenomenon of ‘binge-watching’, in which several episodes of a program are viewed in one sitting. This article presents the results of a novel exploratory study focused on 40 Netflix viewing sessions from 11 millennials in their homes. Methodologically, we employed a novel mixed-methods approach that combines objective data (collected through a browser extension) and subjective data (collected via questionnaires completed before and after viewing). This novel approach allowed us to describe the binge-watcher’s experience in a holistic fashion. Results suggest that binge-watching is an individual activity mainly performed at the end of the day to relax, for boredom relief purposes, or for escapism. Furthermore, a binge-watching session lasts for an average of 2 h and 10 min, and variations on binge-watchers’ affective states were identified after Netflix exposure. Participants’ levels of valence (unhappy–happy) significantly decreased after binge-watching; their positive affect values increased primarily after watching sci-fi, while their negative affect values decreased after watching comedy and slightly increased after watching drama. However, the levels of arousal (relaxed–stimulated) remained the same. This study extends our current understanding of binge-watching in terms of viewer motivations, how it affects their viewing experiences, and participants’ subjective affective states. The investigation contributes, thus, to a relatively new domain of research concerned with the understanding of binge-watching behavior of serialized TV fiction.
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Background and aims: Binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of a TV series in one session) has recently become standard practice among TV series viewers; this expansion generates concerns regarding the potential negative outcomes associated with this habit. However, the investigation of its psychological correlates remains fragmentary, with few initial studies a priori conceptualizing this behavior as a new addictive disorder. This study explored these psychological correlates using cluster analysis of binge-watching behavior based on three key psychological factors: motivations, impulsivity, and emotional reactivity. Methods: An online survey was completed by 4,039 TV series viewers. Data were analyzed using hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analyses, the validity of the clusters being finally determined through mutual comparisons with a selection of external correlates. Results: Four clusters were identified: recreational TV series viewers (presenting low involvement in binge-watching), regulated binge-watchers (moderately involved), avid binge-watchers (presenting elevated but non-problematic involvement), and unregulated binge-watchers (presenting potentially problematic involvement associated with negative outcomes). Discussion and conclusions: This study underlines the heterogeneous and multidetermined nature of binge-watching. Our findings suggest that high engagement in binge-watching is distinct from problematic binge-watching, thus reinforcing the notion that conceptualizing binge-watching as an addictive disorder is of low relevance and might actually lead to the overpathologization of this highly popular leisure activity.
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Background The study focuses on psychological conditions of the phenomenon of binge-watching. The aim of the article was to characterize the frequency and motivation to perform binge-watching in a group of young adults. Another goal of the research was to present the results of preliminary adaptation works on two scales that were previously non-existent in Polish literature, which may be used to study binge-watching. Participants and procedure The study involved 854 female and 150 male participants aged 19-26 years. The participants of the research were students of Polish universities. The following research methods were applied in the study: Polish adaptation of the Viewing Motivation Scale by Alan M. Rubin and the author’s tool – Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-Watching Behaviors by Jolanta Starosta. Results The conducted analysis revealed a significant association between high frequency of binge-watching and escape motivation (ρ = .55, p < .05) and motivation to deal with loneliness (ρ = .42, p < .05). Furthermore, these two motivations correlate signifi-cantly with such predictors of risk for behavioral addiction as Loss of control and neglect of duties and Emotional reactions. Research has shown that the Polish adaptation of the Viewing Motivation Scale and the Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-Watching Behaviors are tools that meet psychometric standards. Conclusions The study shows that participants have various motivations to binge-watch series. The individuals who binge-watch with the highest frequency had a tendency to have escape motivation and motivation to deal with loneliness. There are some relations with various motivation and frequency of binge-watching with risk factors for behavioral addiction. The methods presented in the study – the Viewing Motivation Scale and the Questionnaire of Excessive Binge-Watching Behaviors – may be useful in learning about the phenomenon of binge-watching.
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Extant results on the binge-watching outcomes have been mixed. This study sought to examine the crucial factor of attentiveness that might help to enhance viewer experience and mitigate post-binge regret, as well as differentiate the motivation of narrative transportation from narrative completion. While narrative transportation involves a viewer getting unconsciously swept away by the story, the motivation of narrative completion is a more self-aware, cognizant effort to progress through the story. A survey (N = 800) determined that the degree to which an individual pays attention to a show may either increase or decrease subsequent regret, depending on the motivation for binge-watching.
Largely facilitated by technological convergence, television binge watching is a newer media phenomenon. The current exploratory study recruited a random sample of college students (18–25 years old; N = 406) from a university in the western United States. Using a Uses and Gratifications framework, qualitative methods were implemented to better understand how college students conceptualize binge watching, their motivations for engaging in binge watching, and any potential perceived consequences. College students’ definitions of binge watching included the key components of quantity of time, consecutive viewing, and number of episodes. The college context was perceived to facilitate the practice of binge watching. Participants perceived that binge watching could have adverse physical and mental health consequences. In the social realm, some participants indicated that binge watching was a social activity and could lead to making new friends, but some cautioned that binge watching could be socially isolating.
Binge-watching, simultaneously treated as both guilty pleasure and legitimate health concern in popular press and academic discussions, is a pervasive media behavior. Yet distinguishing it from other ways of television viewing remains elusive in communication research. The present study employs empirically supported variables to determine if different outcome expectancies are relevant to the frequency of binge-watching as contrasted with appointment viewing of television through the lens of the model of media attendance. Survey results (N = 797) of a college student and representative adult sample reveal that binge-watching is motivated in large part by the behavior already being an entrenched habit among viewers, while suspense and anticipation associated with content and motivation to use viewing to regulate one’s emotions are also significant antecedents. Conversely, more frequent appointment viewing of television viewing was driven by viewing efficacy and older age.