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The association between video-on-demand watching behaviour and subjective well-being : An experience sampling study

Erker, D.D. (2020) The association between video-on-demand watching behaviour and subjective well-being : An experience sampling study.

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Abstract:Background Binge-watching, commonly defined as watching 2-6 episodes of a TV show consecutively, is a phenomenon that has gained increasing research interest in recent years. Through the growth of the video-on-demand (VoD) streaming market, binge-watching has become a widespread behaviour, being especially prevalent among college students. Several studies have investigated multiple aspects such as motivations, gratifications or characteristics of binge-watchers. Yet, there is only little evidence of how this behaviour might affect our well-being. Some evidence has hinted at both positive and negative consequences for the user’s mental health. However, it appears that most studies suffer from design weaknesses and mostly rely on cross-sectional study designs. Aim This study aims to use an intensive longitudinal measurement approach to study the phenomenon of binge-watching and its association with subjective well-being over time. Method A longitudinal study design was used to investigate participants’ (n=42) watching behaviour and life satisfaction, also referred to as subjective well-being. The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) required respondents to fill out daily questionnaires using their own smartphones over a period of two weeks. To measure subjective well-being for this study, the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) was used. A series of linear mixed model analyses were conducted to discover any significant relationship(s) between subjective well-being as a predictor or outcome of binge-watching. Besides analysing binge-watching according to its conceptualisation, more general watching behaviour such as “episodes watched” and “hours watched” was examined as well. Results No significant association of well-being with binge-watching or hours watched was found, however, the number of episodes watched positively predicted life satisfaction scores on the next day (p = 0.02). The related B- estimate of 0.15, however, indicates that this effect on life satisfaction was relatively small. Conclusion Findings generally suggest that binge-watching neither benefits nor harms people’s subjective well-being. Interestingly, the number of episodes watched, however, positively predicted life satisfaction on the next day. These findings are partly in line with previous research, yet, they also conflict with some other findings of negative assumed consequences of binge-watching. The results suggest that it is questionable if the negative framing of the term binge-watching is deserved. Also, it remains unclear whether the definition of binge-watching should be altered and further adapted. Findings of this study may be limited due to a homogenous sample and the Corona pandemic in 2020 which caused this research to be conducted under extraordinary circumstances.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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