People who were highly stressed after work did not feel
relieved or recovered when they watched television or played computer games,
found a new study. Instead they had high level of guilt and feelings of
The study was conducted by researchers at the Johannes
Gutenberg University Mainz
in Germany and the VU University Amsterdam
the Netherlands. The researchers asked 471 participants how they felt after job
or school the previous day and what media they had used.
They found that those who were especially burned out were
more inclined to feel that they were procrastinating by watching television or
playing games instead of doing more significant tasks.
This led them to feeling culpable, which in turn made them
feel less relieved and revitalized, diminishing the good effects of using
Previous research has revealed that using entertaining media
can provide a 'recovery experience' that assists people relax and stay away
from the stresses of work.
However, the latest research highlighted the paradox of
using various entertainment media to relax after a stressful day, with those
who might have benefited most from using media to relax instead experiencing
lower levels of recovery, because they felt doing so was a proof that they had
failed to exercise self-control.
Dr Leonard Reinecke, who co-authored the report, said that
the researchers were beginning to better understand that media use could have
beneficial effects for people's well being, through media-induced recovery.
"Our present study is a significant step towards a
deeper understanding of this. It shows that in the real life, the connection
between media use and well-being is complicated and that the utilization of
media may conflict with other, less pleasurable but more important duties and
goals in everyday life," Dr Leonard said.
"We are starting to analyze media use as a cause of
depletion. In times of smartphones and mobile internet, the ubiquitous
availability of content and communication often seems to be a burden and a
stressor rather than a recovery resource," Dr Leonard added.
The study was published in the Journal of Communication.