Watching medical shows could be 'bad for your health'

Posted Oct 1, 2010 by Jane Fazackarley
Watching too many television shows with medical content such as news and drama could cause people to become more concerned about their health and reduce their overall life satisfaction, according to a new study by the University of Rhode Island.
Katherine Heigl on Grey s Anatomy.
Katherine Heigl on Grey's Anatomy.
Yinjiao Ye, an assistant professor of communication studies, authored the report and says that TV viewing can raise people's awareness of health-risks and that watching medical shows can lead people to think they have a greater chance of developing an illness.
And while shows like 'House' , 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'E.R' etc may be good tools for helping change attitudes towards health or making people more aware, this information may lead some people to convince themselves that they are more likely to suffer from some of the illnesses that they see featured on these shows.
The report author says that there is a "double-edged sword effect " involved here because people gain important information from the media but as they learn more, they enjoy life less.
Professor Yinjiao Ye also said that watching TV could cause some people to become more dissatisfied with life.
This study extends beyond previous research and says watching TV could make some viewers more materialistic and give them a skewed impression of other people's possessions when compared to their own.
As part of the study 274 students from the College of Communications at the University of Alabama were questioned. Those surveyed were aged between 18-31. The students were asked about their TV viewing habits and life satisfaction, the students were not told the reason behind the study.
The report author said:
“While this surveyed group shows dissatisfaction, I suspect that if I surveyed a more general population the dissatisfaction would be even higher."