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Study: Unhappy people watch TV, happy people read/socialize

 
 
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 12:33 am
Unhappy people watch TV, happy people read/socialize, says study
A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as very happy spend more time reading and socializing. The study appears in the December issue of the journal Social Indicators Research.


Quote:
Analyzing 30-years worth of national data from time-use studies and a continuing series of social attitude surveys, the Maryland researchers report that spending time watching television may contribute to viewers' happiness in the moment, with 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."

TV VIEWING DURING A FINANCIAL CRISIS

Based on data from time use surveys, Robinson projects that TV viewing might increase significantly as the economy worsens in the next few months and years.

"Through good and bad economic times, our diary studies, have consistently found that work is the major activity correlate of higher TV viewing hours," Robinson says. "As people have progressively more time on their hands, viewing hours increase."

But Robinson cautions that some of that extra time also might be spent sleeping. "As working and viewing hours increase, so do sleep hours," he says. "Sleep could be the second major beneficiary of job loss or reduced working hours."

STUDY FINDINGS AND DATA

In their new study, Robinson and his co-author, University of Maryland sociologist Steven Martin, set out to learn more about the activities that contributed to happiness in people's lives. They analyzed two sets of data spanning nearly 30 years (1975-2006) gathered from nearly 30,000 adults:

-- A series of time-use studies that asked people to fill out diaries for a 24-hour period and to indicate how pleasurable they found each activity;
-- General Social Survey attitude studies, which Robinson calls the national premier source for monitoring changes in public attitudes " in-depth surveys that over the years consistently asked subjects how happy they feel, how they spend their time among a number of other questions.

UNHAPPY PEOPLE VIEW SIGNIFICANTLY MORE

Robinson and Martin found that the two sets of data largely coincided for most activities " with the exception of television.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 1,700 • Replies: 8
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 12:46 am
@Robert Gentel,
Thirty years? Maybe somebody should do a time and motion study on this guy.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 04:59 am
That is not plausible.

The medium is not the message.
His findings are like saying that happier people read what is written in pencil,
whereas less happy people read what is written in ballpoint pen
or typewriter, without consideration of the subject matter
of what thay read
.
Information that is good, bad or indifferent
can be disseminated by fountain pen, in books, newspapers,
computer printouts, in movies, by word of mouth or on TV.





David
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 05:44 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
"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."


That makes a lot of sense. When a person reads a newspaper, he is interacting with the paper, making his own mental comments as he reads. With TV, the news is spoon fed to the viewer.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 05:52 am
@Phoenix32890,
When it comes to news, by and large all that TV provides is a headline service. To actually get the full story, one must either get a real old-fashioned newspaper (my preferred choice) or go online.

Roger, you and I must be the two happiest people on A2k. As I understand it, you don't even own a television. I have one that hasn't even been plugged into an outlet for at least a couple of years. Since I don't subscribe to cable, I doubt I'm missing much.
Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 06:56 am
@Robert Gentel,

Have you actually looked at the crap that passes for programming on TV these days?

No wonder the watchers are miserable.
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 11:00 am
@Robert Gentel,
we certainly would not want to be without TV .
does it have to be : one or the other ?

yesterday we watched the morning news and weather report . went shopping and came back to read three newspappers : local , globe & mail (toronto/national) and NY times (usually on saturdays only) .

i went off to the computer , mrs h read for about an hour , we had tea and watched tv on and off for probably about two to three hours total - part of it old silverscreen movie .

this morning watched "meet the press" , canadiann commentary and weather report .
we enjoy "mix and match" .
have to go now to see if the dryer finished the last load .
hbg

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 11:14 am
@Merry Andrew,
I don't own one either: can I join your club?
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Nov, 2008 11:21 am
@hamburger,
No, the article didn't say it had to be one or the other...


I might have a tv if I could spring for cable service. When I watched it in my tv waning years, I had cable but only the simple options, so not my then-favorite movie channels like the old Los Angeles Z channel. If I had tv with full cable, I'd watch some movies, and some sports - I got a kick out of watching the Giro d'Italia one time, and Lance boy is riding in the next one, I hear. 'Course, I like it more for the scenery than the bicycle race. But, by and large I don't miss tv, and I can watch movies on my computer.


But what is happiness anyway? Very amorphous basis for the study.
0 Replies
 
 

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