Online Program

Looking into Screen Time: Mental Health and Binge Watching

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Jessica Sloan Kruger, MSHE, School of Population Health, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH
Monita Karmakar, M.S. , Ph.D. student, Department of Neurology, 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-Binge watching of television and other programming has recently increased in prevalence as advancing technology enables the ability to instantly stream and/or record content on demand to nearly any type of device (Smart TV's, tablets, cell phones) at any time. There are negative health effects of excessive screen time such as sedentary lifestyle. The phenomenon of binge watching with Internet-streaming devices has yet to be examined with regard to mental health.

methods-This study explores the relationship between self-identified binge watching and self-reported viewing habits with levels of stress and anxiety. Data was collected with North American affiliates of Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) in January 2015. Measures included an adapted version of Hovrath's (2004) Television Addiction Scale (to include Internet-streaming devices) and the short-form version of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS-21). Participants (N = 408) were 53% female, 47% male, 74% White, with a Mean age of 37 years (SD = 14).

findings-Self-identified binge watchers (35%) indicated significantly higher levels of stress and anxiety, and both stress and anxiety were directly related to frequency of binge watching. Anxiety was inversely related to the frequency of watching, but directly related to the length of viewing episodes. Level of viewing addiction was strongly related to levels of stress and anxiety, explaining 26% and 62% of the variance, respectively.

implications-Public health professionals need to be aware of how new technologies may relate to mental health patterns. This preliminary investigation has demonstrated strong associations between binge watching, stress, and anxiety.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the relationship between binge watching of streaming devices and anxiety and stress.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Internet

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a doctoral student in public health I have completed many research projects. The project was completed with guidance of a professor in Psychology.
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.