Unhappy People Watch TV, Happy People Read/Socialize

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.

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.” (University of Maryland)

Note that this is a press release about the research, not the research itself, so take it for what it’s worth. If anyone sees this covered on the TV news, let me know — I’ll gain a lot of respect for that news team.