Reference : Improving the understanding of binge-watching behavior: An exploration of its underly...
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Multidisciplinary, general & others
Improving the understanding of binge-watching behavior: An exploration of its underlying psychological processes
Flayelle, Maèva mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
University of Luxembourg, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur en Psychologie
Billieux, Joël mailto
[en] binge-watching ; TV series ; addictive behaviors
[en] 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.

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