Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unhappy People Watch More TV

Unhappy people glue themselves to the television 30 percent more than happy people.

The finding, announced on Thursday, comes from a survey of nearly 30,000 American adults conducted between 1975 and 2006 as part of the General Social Survey.

While happy people reported watching an average of 19 hours of television per week, unhappy people reported 25 hours a week. The results held even after taking into account education, income, age and marital status.

In addition, happy individuals were more socially active, attended more religious services, voted more and read a newspaper more often than their less-chipper counterparts.

The researchers are not sure, though, whether unhappiness leads to more television-watching or more viewing leads to unhappiness.

In fact, people say they like watching television: Past research has shown that when people watch television they enjoy it. In these studies, participants reported that on a scale from 0 (dislike) to 10 (greatly enjoy), TV-watching was nearly an 8.

But perhaps the high from watching television doesn't last.

"These conflicting data suggest that TV may provide viewers with short-run pleasure, but at the expense of long-term malaise," said researcher John Robinson, a sociologist at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In this scenario, even the happiest campers could turn into Debbie-downers if they continue to stare at the boob-tube. The researchers suggest that over time, television-viewing could push out other activities that do have more lasting benefits. Exercise and sex come to mind, as do parties and other forms of socialization known to have psychological benefits.

Or, maybe television is simply a refuge for people who are already unhappy.

"TV is not judgmental nor difficult, so people with few social skills or resources for other activities can engage in it," Robinson and UM colleague Steven Martin write in the December issue of the journal Social Indicators Research.

They add, "Furthermore, chronic unhappiness can be socially and personally debilitating and can interfere with work and most social and personal activities, but even the unhappiest people can click a remote and be passively entertained by a TV."

The researchers say follow-up studies are needed to tease out the relationship between television and happiness.

People get a high from watching TV? I don't. I rarely watch TV. You know why? Commercials. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind a few commercials here and there, but the networks overdo it. They have half a dozen commercials every 10 minutes. It really gets sickening. And its always the same commercials. They just keep playing the same ones over and over again. I figure if you're gonna commercial us to death, you mine as well give us some different ones to watch.

If I was the person in charge of dedicating air time for these commercials, I'd allocate the time as follows:

A half hour show would be comprised of one set of commercials halfway, or 15 minutes into the program. The set would contain 2 minutes of commercials. A one hour show would have a commercial "break" every 20 minutes, with a 2 minute or so set of commercials. I think this allocation would be reasonable, wouldn't you say? It would be kind of like an intermission. Giving you enough time to go the rest room, or get a snack. I think it would be a great balance of showtime and commercial time. Just enough time for you to really enjoy the show, and a few minutes to get up and stretch your legs.

I think it would be much better than an annoying commercial every 10 minutes. Just think of all the things they could show on TV if they didn't have all these commercials. A one hour show is only 40 minutes, with 20 minutes of commercials. Ridiculous, isn't it?

Besides commercials, there just isn't much on TV to keep me entertained. There's all these dumb sitcoms with dumb names like "How I Met Your Mother." Ever watched it? I've watched it a few times. It boggles my mind as to how they came up with that title. How does anything that goes on in that show have to do with how someone met someone's mother?

Then there's the neverending reality shows. I fail to see how any of these shows are "reality" or pertain to anything realitve to my life or anyone else's. I find them more boring than my life, and its pretty boring. Now should these shows appeal to somebody, apparently they must because they've been on the air for the better part of this decade, if these shows are realistic and relative to somebody's life, then I ask you, what is the point in watching TV? Don't you watch TV to escape from reality? I think most people do. So why the hell would you want to watch a show that is relative to your life? I don't get it.

And we can't forget the Law and Order and the CSI trios. They flood the airwaves and are on several channels, if not dozens at all different times of the day. USA Network has Law and Order marathons all the time, as does TNT. What is the fascination with these shows? I'll agree they're better than the reality shit and most of the sitcoms, but I really don't get why they are so popular. They're all the same too. I figure if you've seen a dozen or so episodes of each show, you've seen them all. These shows are on the air too much. They should scale it back a bit and put something else on. I mean really, how much CSI and Law and Order can you watch?

The article states that unhappy people watch more TV. True? Probably. I know I'd be unhappy if all I did was watch TV all day. These people who watch TV all day are couch potatoes who have no lives. They have nothing to do, so of course they're unhappy. What else does a person who has nothing to do, do? They watch TV. What else could they do? God forbid should they pick up a book. Or go for a walk. Nah, can't do that. It might actually be good for them. And you know that people don't like to do things that are good for them.

Now I am not saying that all unhappy people have nothing to do. I'm just saying that people who watch a lot of TV tend not to be active in their daily lives. The article says the average, unhappy person watches about 3 hours of Television per day, that's a bit low, I think. I know people who watch TV all day. Then there are those who multi-task who watch or listen to TV while doing other things. Nothing wrong with that, I'm not criticising them. I just wish people would find other ways to entertain themselves instead of being glued to the television all day.


aries33 said...

this is very true, some people makes watching t.v. as a remedy for their problems or some kind of alternative to alcohol.

Anonymous said...

I guess it is a good thing then that I can never remember how to turn on the tv/dish/dvr/dvd remote thing because I do it so seldom.

good post...dig your blog.