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See detailImproving the understanding of binge-watching behavior: An exploration of its underlying psychological processes
Flayelle, Maèva UL

Doctoral thesis (2020)

The advent of the digital age with its progress in on-demand viewing technology has been associated in recent years with a dramatic increase in binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV ... [more ▼]

The advent of the digital age with its progress in on-demand viewing technology has been associated in recent years with a dramatic increase in binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of TV series in one session), to the point that this practice has now become the new normative way to consume TV shows. Nevertheless, along with its massive rise has come concerns about the associated mental and physical health outcomes, with initial studies even assuming its addictive nature. At a time when the psychological investigation of this behavior was only in its infancy, the current PhD thesis, therefore, aimed at improving the understanding of binge-watching, by clarifying the psychological processes involved in its development and maintenance. To this end, six empirical studies were conducted along two main research axes: 1) the conceptualization and assessment of binge-watching behaviors, and 2) the exploration of binge-watchers’ psychological characteristics. Study 1 consisted of a preliminary qualitative exploration of the phenomenological characteristics of binge-watching. Capitalizing on these pilot findings, Study 2 reported on the development and psychometric validation of two assessment instruments, measuring TV series watching motivations (“Watching TV Series Motives Questionnaire”, WTSMQ) and binge-watching engagement and symptoms (“Binge-Watching Engagement and Symptoms Questionnaire”, BWESQ). Finally, Study 3 aimed at cross-culturally validating the WTSMQ and BWESQ in nine languages (i.e., English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Hungarian, Persian, Arabic, Chinese). Subsequent to this first line of investigation, Study 4 then explored potential binge-watchers’ subtypes by taking into consideration three key psychological factors, i.e. motivations for binge-watching, impulsivity traits, and emotional reactivity. Study 5 consisted of a pre-registered experimental study aimed at ascertaining differences on behavioral and self-reported impulsivity in non-problematic and problematic binge-watchers. Finally, Study 6 carried out the first systematic review of literature on binge-watching correlates. Beyond providing two theoretically and psychometrically sound binge-watching measures that may enable widespread expansion of international research on the topic, this doctoral research also allowed for important insights into the heterogeneous and complex nature of binge-watching, as well as into the understanding of its underlying psychological mechanisms. Centrally, by revealing that high – but healthy – and problematic engagement in binge-watching are underlined by distinct motivational and dispositional psychological processes, the overall findings of this PhD thesis bring an alternative etiological comprehension of problematic binge-watching as a maladaptive coping or emotional regulation strategy to deal with negative affect states. [less ▲]

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See detailBinge-Watching: What Do we Know So Far? A First Systematic Review of the Evidence
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Maurage, Pierre; Ridell Di Lorenzo, Kim et al

in Current Addiction Reports (2020), 7(1), 44-60

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 ... [more ▼]

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. [less ▲]

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See detailTime for a Plot Twist: Beyond Confirmatory Approaches to Binge-Watching Research
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Maurage, Pierre; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Psychology of Popular Media Culture (2019), 8(3), 308-318

The advent of the digital age with its progress in digital technology has been associated in recent years with an increase in binge-watching (i.e., seeing multiple episodes of the same TV series in one ... [more ▼]

The advent of the digital age with its progress in digital technology has been associated in recent years with an increase in binge-watching (i.e., seeing multiple episodes of the same TV series in one session). Binge-watching has now become the new normative way to consume TV shows. Nevertheless, along with its recent massive rise has come concerns about the associated mental and physical health outcomes. Currently available results suggest the potential harmfulness and even addictive nature of binge-watching. The psychological investigation of this behavior, however, is still in its infancy, with most studies using a confirmatory approach and assuming a priori its genuine addictive nature. In contrast, the current perspective paper argues the case for an exploratory approach as an initial step for conducting research on behaviors that − at first sight − look like addiction when applying a symptom-based approach. A qualitative understanding of the phenomenological characteristics of binge-watching as the foundation of an initial comprehensive discussion makes it possible to formulate hypotheses concerning its potentially addictive nature and to emphasize challenges and directions for future research. Here we propose an exploration of the dynamics of binge-watching behavior based on a model involving emotion regulation in the etiology and maintenance of problem binge-watching. [less ▲]

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See detailHigh involvement versus pathological involvement in video games: A crucial distinction for ensuring the validity and utility of gaming disorder
Billieux, Joël UL; Flayelle, Maèva UL; Rumpf, Hans-Jürgen et al

in Current Addiction Reports (2019), 6(3), 323-330

Purpose of review. The year 2018 was marked by the official recognition of Gaming Disorder (GD) as a mental condition with its inclusion in the proposed eleventh edition of the International ... [more ▼]

Purpose of review. The year 2018 was marked by the official recognition of Gaming Disorder (GD) as a mental condition with its inclusion in the proposed eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Recently, a group of scholars has repeatedly criticized the notion of GD proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO), arguing that its inclusion in ICD-11 will pathologize highly involved but healthy gamers. It is therefore of crucial importance to clarify the characteristics of high involvement versus pathological involvement in video games, the boundaries between these constructs, and the implementation of screening and diagnostic GD tools that distinguish the two. Recent findings. Increasing evidence supports the view that intense video game playing may involve patterns of gaming that are characterized by high involvement but that are non-pathological. Furthermore, some criteria for addictive and related disorders may reflect peripheral features that are not necessarily indicative of pathology, whereas others may reflect core features that are more likely to adequately identify pathological behavior and so have diagnostic validity. Finally, it is key to assess functional impairment associated with gaming, so that a GD diagnosis has clinical utility. Summary. Available evidence supports the crucial need to distinguish between high and pathological involvement in videogames, in order to avoid over-diagnosis and pathologization of normal behavior. The definition of GD adopted in ICD-11 has clinical utility and diagnostic validity since it explicitly mentions the functional impairment caused by problem gaming and its diagnostic guidelines refer to core addiction features, reflecting pathological involvement. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessing binge-watching behaviors: Development and validation of the “Watching TV Series Motives” and “Binge-Watching Engagement and Symptoms” questionnaires
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Canale, Natale; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Computers in Human Behavior (2019), 90

The widespread practice of binge-watching (i.e. watching multiple episodes of a TV series in one session) recently generated concerns about associated negative outcomes. Its psychological investigation ... [more ▼]

The widespread practice of binge-watching (i.e. watching multiple episodes of a TV series in one session) recently generated concerns about associated negative outcomes. Its psychological investigation, however, remains fragmentary. Based on the previous phenomenological investigation of TV series watching, we developed and validated two original assessment instruments, assessing TV series watching motives and binge-watching engagement and symptoms, respectively. Preliminary items were created for each questionnaire, and a focus group with TV series viewers was conducted and analyzed to generate the final instruments. The questionnaires were then administered via an online survey (N=6556), together with complementary measures of affect, problematic Internet use and substance use. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, along with correlational analyses, were performed to examine both structural and external validity of the scales. The factorial analyses resulted in a 4-factor model (i.e. emotional enhancement, enrichment, coping-escapism and social) for the Watching TV Series Motives Questionnaire (WTSMQ), and in a 7-factor model (i.e. engagement, positive emotions, desire-savoring, pleasure preservation, binge-watching, dependency and loss of control) for the Binge-Watching Engagement and Symptoms Questionnaire (BWESQ). The results suggest good psychometric properties for both scales. The current study thus provides theoretically-driven and psychometrically sound instruments for further research on binge-watching behaviors [less ▲]

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See detailOvercoming the unitary exploration of binge-watching: A cluster analytical approach.
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Maurage, Pierre; Karila, Laurent et al

in Journal of behavioral addictions (2019), 8(3), 586-602

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of a TV series in one session) has recently become standard practice among TV series viewers; this expansion generates concerns ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Binge-watching (i.e., watching multiple episodes of a TV series in one session) has recently become standard practice among TV series viewers; this expansion generates concerns regarding the potential negative outcomes associated with this habit. However, the investigation of its psychological correlates remains fragmentary, with few initial studies a priori conceptualizing this behavior as a new addictive disorder. This study explored these psychological correlates using cluster analysis of binge-watching behavior based on three key psychological factors: motivations, impulsivity, and emotional reactivity. METHODS: An online survey was completed by 4,039 TV series viewers. Data were analyzed using hierarchical and non-hierarchical cluster analyses, the validity of the clusters being finally determined through mutual comparisons with a selection of external correlates. RESULTS: Four clusters were identified: recreational TV series viewers (presenting low involvement in binge-watching), regulated binge-watchers (moderately involved), avid binge-watchers (presenting elevated but non-problematic involvement), and unregulated binge-watchers (presenting potentially problematic involvement associated with negative outcomes). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: This study underlines the heterogeneous and multidetermined nature of binge-watching. Our findings suggest that high engagement in binge-watching is distinct from problematic binge-watching, thus reinforcing the notion that conceptualizing binge-watching as an addictive disorder is of low relevance and might actually lead to the overpathologization of this highly popular leisure activity. [less ▲]

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See detailBinge-watching engagement as determined by motivations, impulsivity and emotional reactivity: A cluster analytic approach.
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Maurage, Pierre; Vögele, Claus UL et al

in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (2018), 42 (Suppl. 2)

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See detailAssessing binge-watching behaviors: Development of the « Watching TV Series Motives » and the « Binge-Watching Engagement » questionnaires
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Canale, Natale; Maurage, Pierre et al

in Journal of Behavioral Addictions (2018), 7 (Suppl.1)

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See detailToward an in-depth understanding of binge-watching behavior: a qualitative approach with focus group
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Maurage, Pierre; Billieux, Joël

in Journal of behavioral addictions (2017, March), 6 (Suppl.1)

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See detailToward a Qualitative Understanding of Binge-Watching Behaviors: A Focus Group Approach
Flayelle, Maèva UL; Maurage, Pierre; Billieux, Joël UL

in Journal of Behavioral Addictions (2017), 6(4), 457-471

Background and aims: Binge-watching (i.e., seeing multiple episodes of the same TV series in a row) now constitutes a widespread phenomenon. However, little is known about the psychological factors ... [more ▼]

Background and aims: Binge-watching (i.e., seeing multiple episodes of the same TV series in a row) now constitutes a widespread phenomenon. However, little is known about the psychological factors underlying this behavior, as reflected by the paucity of available studies, most merely focusing on its potential harmfulness by applying the classic criteria used for other addictive disorders without exploring the uniqueness of binge-watching. The present study thus aimed to take the opposite approach as a first step toward a genuine understanding of binge-watching behaviors through a qualitative analysis of the phenomenological characteristics of TV series watching. Methods: A focus group of regular TV series viewers (N=7) was established to explore a wide range of aspects related to TV series watching (e.g., motives, viewing practices, related behaviors). Results: A content analysis identified bingewatching features across three dimensions: TV series watching motivations, TV series watching engagement, and structural characteristics of TV shows. Most participants acknowledged that TV series watching can become addictive, but they all agreed having trouble recognizing themselves as truly being an “addict.” Although obvious connections could be established with substance addiction criteria and symptoms, such parallelism appeared to be insufficient, as several distinctive facets emerged (e.g., positive view, transient overinvolvement, context dependency, low everyday life impact). Discussion and conclusions: Research should go beyond the classic biomedical and psychological models of addictive behaviors to account for binge-watching in order to explore its specificities and generate first steps toward an adequate theoretical rationale for these emerging problematic behaviors. [less ▲]

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