is the VOA Special English Health Report.
new study suggests that the more teenagers watch television, the more likely
they are to develop depression as young adults. But the extent to which TV may
or may not be to blame is a question that the study leaves unanswered.
The researchers used a
national long-term survey of adolescent health to investigate the relationship
between media use and depression. They based their findings on more than four
thousand adolescents who were not depressed when the survey began in nineteen
part of the survey, the young people were asked how many hours of television or
videos they watched daily. They were also asked how often they played computer
games and listened to the radio.
use totaled an average of five and one-half hours a day. More than two hours of
that was spent watching TV.
years later, in two thousand two, more than seven percent of the young people
had signs of depression. The average age at that time was twenty-one.
Primack at the University of Pittsburgh medical school was the lead author of
the new study. He says every extra hour of television meant an eight percent
increase in the chances of developing signs of depression.
researchers say they did not find any such relationship with the use of other
media such as movies, video games or radio. But the study did find that young
men were more likely than young women to develop depression given the same
amount of media use.
Doctor Primack says the study did not
explore if watching TV causes depression. But one possibility, he says, is that
it may take time away from activities that could help prevent depression, like
sports and socializing. It might also interfere with sleep, he says, and that
could have an influence.
The study was just
published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
In December, the
journal Social Indicators Research published a study of activities that help
lead to happy lives. Sociologists from the University of Maryland found that
people who describe themselves as happy spend less time watching television
than unhappy people. The study found that happy people are more likely to be
socially active, to read, attend religious services and to vote.
that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. For
archives of our reports, go to voaspecialenglish.com.