Online Program

Viewing Patterns and Addiction to Television among Adults Who Self-Identify as Binge-Watchers

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Monita Karmakar, M.S. , Ph.D. student, Department of Neurology, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Jessica Sloan Kruger, MSHE, School of Population Health, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Jon Elhai, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Alaina Kramer, B.S., CHES, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Background: In popular media, “binge-watching” is defined as watching television at a stretch over an extended period of time. Though some preliminary studies have showed negative health outcomes with excessive Television (TV) viewing, this new trending phenomenon of “binge-watching” has never been studied before using a large population from a socio-behavioral context.

Objective: This study explores TV viewing patterns and addiction among self-identified “binge-watchers.”

Method: Participants (n=408) 18 years and older from North America were recruited through an online crowdsourcing marketplace (Mechanical Turk), operated by Amazon. They were asked to complete a survey regarding their TV viewing habits and addiction to TV using validated instruments.

Results: Out of the 408 participants, 142 (35%) identified themselves as “binge-watchers.” Most participants (77%) reported watching TV for 2 hours or more on average per day without any break during the past week. Participants who self-identified as “binge-watchers” reported significantly higher consecutive number of hours spent watching TV per day in a week (p<0.01). Average screen time had significant positive correlation to self-reported TV addiction (R = 0.349, p < 0.01). Moreover, participants who self-identified as “binge-watchers” rated higher on the TV addiction scale than those who did not identify themselves as “binge-watchers” (R = 0.466, p < 0.01).

Conclusion: Literature shows that TV viewing (especially screen time) is associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes. With the advent of novel media for viewing television, “bing-watching” is a growing public health concern that needs to be addressed.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Define "binge-watching." Discuss the negative health effects of prolonged TV viewing. List the characteristics of "binge-watchers." Explain the relationship between "binge-watching" and TV addiction.

Keyword(s): Media, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Being a doctoral student in Public Health, I understand the process of research. I have taken several research and statistics courses. The current project will be completed under the guidance of Dr. Elhai, a distinguished researcher. I have published a research paper in a peer reviewed journal in the past and also have a track record of presenting at several national and regional peer reviewed conferences.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.