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Be happy, turn off the TV

American sociologists say people who read newspapers (and magazines!!!) and socialize more are happier than those who watch a lot of TV.

The study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as “very happy” spend more time reading and socializing.

“TV doesn’t really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does,” says sociologist John P. Robinson, “It’s more passive and may provide escape – especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise.”

From the General Social Survey, the researchers found people who describe themselves as “very happy” are socially active, attended more religious services, voted more and read more newspapers. By contrast, unhappy people watched significantly more television.

According to the study’s findings, unhappy people watch an estimated 20 percent more television than very happy people.

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