A Daily Diary Investigation of the Link Between Television Watching and Positive Affect
Past research has shown a negative relationship between time spent watching television (TV) and several indicators of hedonic well-being—including positive affect (PA). However, cross-sectional designs employed in most of these studies do not allow for inferences regarding the direction of the link between TV watching and PA. Present research aimed to address this gap by using daily diary data from a large national sample of U.S. adults (N = 1668, age = 33–83 years). Respondents reported time spent watching TV as well as PA for eight consecutive days. Results of multilevel modeling analyses showed that duration of TV watching on the previous day did not significantly predict changes in PA on the next day. However, PA on the previous day significantly predicted decreases in duration of TV watching the following day. The results held after controlling for factors known to predict duration of TV watching and PA (i.e., age, gender, income level, employment status, marital status, health status, and personality traits). The present research goes beyond past cross-sectional work by shedding light on the direction of the link between TV watching and PA. Our findings indicate that watching TV does not seem to diminish PA—as critics of TV proclaim—but individuals seem to watch TV to a greater extent whenever they experience reduced PA.
KeywordsTelevision Positive affect Hedonic well-being Leisure Daily diary design
- Anastassea-Vlachou, K., Fryssira-Kanioura, H., Papathanasiou-Klontza, D., et al. (1996). The effects of television viewing in Greece, and the role of the paediatrician: A familiar triangle revisited. European Journal of Pediatrics, 155(12), 1057–1060. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02532531.Google Scholar
- Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). Time spent in leisure activities in 2014, by gender, age and educational attainment. Retrieved from United States Department of Labor website: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2015/time-spent-in-leisure-activities-in-2014-by-gender-age-and-educational-attainment.htm. Accessed 19 June 2017.
- Cacioppo, J. T., Hawkley, L. C., & Thisted, R. A. (2010). Perceived social isolation makes me sad: 5-year cross-lagged analyses of loneliness and depressive symptomatology in the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations Study. Psychology and Aging, 25(2), 453–463. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0017216.Google Scholar
- Erber, R. (1996). The self-regulation of moods. In L. L. Martin & A. Tesser (Eds.), Striving and feeling: Interactions among goals, affect, and self-regulation (pp. 251–275). Oxford: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Fazio, A. (1977). A concurrent validational study of the NCHS general well-being schedule. Vital and health statistics, series 2, no. 73. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_02/sr02_073.pdf. Accessed 1 Feb 2018.
- Kessler, R. C., Andrews, G., Colpe, L. J., Hiripi, E., Mroczek, D. K., Normand, S. L., et al. (2002). Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine, 32(6), 959–976. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291702006074.Google Scholar
- Kubey, R., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Television and the quality of life: How viewing shapes everyday experience. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Lachman, M. E., & Weaver, S. L. (1997). The Midlife Development Inventory (MIDI) personality scales: Scale construction and scoring. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University.Google Scholar
- OECD. (2016). Time use across the world. Retrieved from OECD website: https://www.oecd.org/gender/data/OECD_1564_TUSupdatePortal.xls. Accessed 19 June 2017.
- Raudenbush, S. W., Bryk, A. S., Cheong, Y. F., Congdon, R. T., Jr., & du Toit, M. (2011). HLM 7: Hierarchical linear and nonlinear modeling. Lincolnwood, IL: Scientific Software International.Google Scholar
- Ryff, C. D., & Almeida, D. M. (2010). National survey of midlife in the United States (MIDUS II): Daily Stress Project, 2004–2009. ICPSR26841-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 02-26.Google Scholar
- Ryff, C., Almeida, D. M., Ayanian, J. S., Carr, D. S., Cleary, P. D., Coe, C., et al. (2007). Midlife development in the United States (MIDUS II), 2004–2006. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.Google Scholar
- Selcuk, E., Zayas, V., Gunaydin, G., Hazan, C., & Kross, E. (2012). Mental representations of attachment figures facilitate emotional recovery following upsetting autobiographical memory recall. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(2), 362–378. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028125.Google Scholar
- Thinkbox. (2013). Screen life: TV in demand. Retrieved from Thinkbox website: https://www.thinkbox.tv/Research/Thinkbox-research/Screen-Life-TV-in-demand. Accessed 10 Apr 2017.