Compensatory Usage of the Internet: The Case of Mukbang Watching on YouTube
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Objective: Accumulating empirical research has emphasized that a wide range of online activities-such as using social networking sites-can be performed in order to compensate unattained needs or to cope with negative affect and psychopathological symptoms. Although the correlates of problematic social networking use have been extensively investigated, less is known about problematic YouTube use (PYU), an umbrella term grouping a number of different activities (e.g., viewing of online video games, watching specific YouTube channels). Furthermore, nothing is known concerning increasingly popular and distinct YouTube-related activities such as mukbang watching (i.e., watching livestream "eating broadcasts" where someone eats various foods in front of the camera while interacting with viewers). The aim of the present study was to examine the mediating role of problematic mukbang watching (PMW) on the relationships between depression and loneliness with PYU. Methods: An online survey that comprised assessment tools for aforementioned variables was administered to 217 mukbang viewers (mean age=20.58 years, range 18-33 years). Results: Results indicated that PMW was positively related to loneliness and PYU. Depression was positively and directly associated with PYU but was not associated with PMW. Conclusion: Further research is required to better understand the psychological processes underlying problematic mukbang watching and its association with other mental health conditions (e.g., addictive disorders, eating disorders).
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