Nov 21, 2008

'Happy people' watch less TV than 'unhappy people'

The results of a pretty interesting study took were summarized in a recent NYTimes article this past weekend:
...People who describe themselves as happy enjoy watching television, it turns out to be the single activity they engage in less often than unhappy people, said John Robinson, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland and the author of the study, which appeared in the journal Social Indicators Research.
The surveys of 45,000 Americans, included in this research, were done over the past 35 years. That's a pretty large sample size. The results probably have very low error bars (Type I error) associated with them.
“We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy,” Dr. Robinson said. “TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less.”

But the researchers could not tell whether unhappy people watch more television or whether being glued to the set is what makes people unhappy. “I don’t know that turning off the TV will make you more happy,” Dr. Robinson said.

Still, he said, the data show that people who spend the most time watching television are least happy in the long run.

Hmm. I wonder if this is why I've been watching ESPN so often these days?



  1. Good show!!

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  2. I don't know about this study though. Do the people that were deemed not as "happy" simply have more time on there hands? A big sample size does not mean that the sample was truly random. What were the criteria of being happier? I don't go to church and am still pretty happy.
    Danny K.