Julia C Carroccio, Thomas R Lawler, Alexandra N Malsch, Chelsey N Parker, David A Rivetti



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Binge watching has rapidly become a norm for the general public, with more than 80% of subscribers reporting binge watching at least once (Netflix, 2014; TiVo, 2015). The present study tested whether binge watching frequency and duration are associated with poor mental health. A primary interest was an examination of the relationship between the number of binges per week and depression and anxiety. Participants were recruited online via Mechanical Turk (N = 338) and given a number of different measures of psychosocial functioning, including the Center for Epidemiological Studies of Depression (CES-D-10) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7) questionnaire. Binge watching was measured as frequency per week and length of binge activity. Analyses comparing individuals who binged once or twice a week to those who binged 3 or more times per week revealed a nonlinear relationship between binge frequency and mental health. Qualitative data about how viewers define binge watching was also examined and revealed that the majority of participants did not define binge watching with a negative connotation. The results of this study suggest that for most people, binge watching is likely just another way of consuming media; however, for some, binge watching may be a marker of poor emotional health. High levels of binge watching for those with high depression and anxiety could reflect an adaptive coping response, or act as a form of avoidance coping.

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Project Designation

Independent Research - Graduate

Primary Advisor

Jacob Burmeister

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

The additional cost of streaming sites: binge watching and associated mental health outcomes