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 in 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.
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.