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Binge-Watching: What Do we Know So Far? A First Systematic Review of the Evidence

  • Maèva FlayelleEmail author
  • Pierre Maurage
  • Kim Ridell Di Lorenzo
  • Claus Vögele
  • Sally M. Gainsbury
  • Joël BillieuxEmail author
Technology Addiction (J Billieux, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Technology Addiction
  2. Topical Collection on Technology Addiction

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Along with the expansion of on-demand viewing technology, the practice of binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV series back-to-back) has recently gained increasing research interest, given its potential harmfulness and presumed addictive characteristics. The present article provides the first systematic review of the evidence regarding this increasingly widespread behavior.

Recent Findings

The results of this systematic review (including 24 studies and 17,545 participants) show that binge-watching remains an ill-defined construct as no consensus exists on its operationalization and measurement. Although such methodological disparities across studies hinder the comparability of results, the preliminary findings gathered here mainly point to the heterogeneous nature of binge-watching which covers at least two distinct realities, i.e., high but non-harmful engagement and problematic involvement in TV series watching.

Summary

In these early stages of research, there is a major need for more consistency and harmonization of constructs and their operationalizations to move forward in the understanding of binge-watching. Just as important, future research should maintain the distinction between high and problematic involvement in binge-watching to avoid overpathologizing this common behavior.

Keywords

Binge-watching TV series Systematic review Operationalization Assessment Correlates 

Notes

Funding Information

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. Pierre Maurage (Senior Research Associate) is funded by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research (FRS-FNRS, Belgium).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article has been edited by Editor-in-Chief Marc Potenza instead of Joël Billieux, as Joël Billieux is the Section Editor of the “Technological Addictions” topical collection.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maèva Flayelle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pierre Maurage
    • 2
  • Kim Ridell Di Lorenzo
    • 1
  • Claus Vögele
    • 3
  • Sally M. Gainsbury
    • 4
  • Joël Billieux
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Addictive and Compulsive Behaviours Lab, Institute for Health and BehaviourUniversity of LuxembourgEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg
  2. 2.Louvain Experimental Psychopathology Research Group (LEP), Psychological Sciences Research InstituteUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, Institute for Health and BehaviourUniversity of LuxembourgEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg
  4. 4.School of Psychology, Brain and Mind CentreUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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