Binge watching TV is associated with loneliness and depression, a study shows.
Those who spend hours immersed in back-to-back episodes of their favourite TV series really are likely to be sad, according to the findings.
US scientists at the University of Texas, Austin, asked 316 young people aged 18 to 29 how often they indulged in TV marathons and how frequently they felt lonely or depressed.
They found that the more lonely or depressed the participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch in order to escape feeling low.
The results, presented at the International Communication Association’s annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, also showed that people lacking the ability to control themselves tended to binge-watch.
Study leader Dr Yoon Hi Sung said: “Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way.
“Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching and they are a cause for concern.
“When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others.
“Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously.
“Our research is a step toward exploring binge-watching as an important media and social phenomenon.”