Study Finds Television Viewers Are Unhappy

Watching too much TV? Maybe you're unhappy and you don't even know it.Watching too much TV? Maybe you're unhappy and you don't even know it.

Do you run home after work everyday in order to catch your favorite shows on television? Would you rather sit at home watching the newest reality shows instead of going out? If so, a new study says that you may be unhappy.

Researchers at the University of Maryland have found that unhappy people watch more TV, while others that describe themselves as 'very happy' spend most of their time reading or socializing.

Two sets of data spanning over 30 years was analyzed and researchers found that while TV may temporarily make a person happy, it has less positive effects in the long run.

“TV doesn't really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does,” says University of Maryland sociologist John P. Robinson, the study co-author and a pioneer in time-use studies. “It's more passive and may provide escape - especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise.”

The study also revealed that people who consider themselves ‘very happy’ tend to be more socially active, attend more religious services, vote more and read more newspapers. People claiming they were ‘unhappy’ had a tendency to watch more television.

Unhappy people tend to watch 20 percent more television and also felt that they were often rushed for time as well as having unwanted extra time on their hands. The researchers also predict that television viewing may significantly increase as the economy worsens.

“Addictive activities produce momentary pleasure and long-term misery and regret,” said Steven Martin, co-author of the study. “People most vulnerable to addiction tend to be socially or personally disadvantaged. For this kind of person, TV can become a kind of opiate in a way. It's habitual, and tuning in can be an easy way of tuning out.”

This study appears in the December issue of the journal Social Indicators Research.


Source: University of Maryland Press Release