The Addictive Potential of Television Binge Watching: Comparing Intentional and Unintentional Binges

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Abstract

This study proposes media audiences engage in 2 types of TV binge watching: intentional and unintentional. Using the differential susceptibility to media effects model as a framework, we draw from research on sensitivity theory and uses and gratifications to test whether unintentional binges are more likely to result in addiction symptoms, and whether this is due to impulsivity as a personality trait. Using an online survey, we find (a) most of our sample has engaged in both types of binge watching, (b) addiction symptoms were more common after unintentional binges, and (c) impulsivity exerts an indirect effect on addiction in the case of unintentional binging only, by increasing unintentional binging frequency. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

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