It's Friday, at last. Depending on the type of person you are, you will likely go one of two routes come the end of the day: out for drinks to celebrate the week's end, or straight into bed to binge-watch something on Netflix. Why leave the house when you could stay inside the House Of Cards? Why meet up with friends when you've already got Friends?
If you find yourself saying "amen" to these questions, then researchers at the University of Texas at Austin believe that you could very well be lonely or depressed.
For the study, researchers surveyed 316 18- to 29-year-olds on how often they watched TV, how often they binged TV shows, and how often they felt lonely, depressed, or incapable of controlling their actions (i.e. couldn't stop clicking "Next" after an episode was over). They found that the more lonely and depressed the participants were, the more likely they were to binge-watch TV, "using this activity to move away from negative feelings," according to the press release.
"That's preposterous," you might say. "Binge-watching is a harmless guilty pleasure."
Well apparently, it isn't so harmless. Apart from being linked to physical fatigue, obesity, and other serious health problems, binge-watching may cause people to "neglect their work and their relationships with others," said Yoon Hi Sung, co-author of the study.
Though the findings may seem a bit obvious — that sitting around watching TV all day isn't exactly good for you — the study is still compelling because it's one of the first to explore the psychology of this relatively recent social phenomenon.
Plus, it's an important reminder to emerge from under the covers and get excited about whatever life has in store for you — rather than the next obstacle Piper must overcome in Orange Is The New Black.