Watching boxsets can improve relationships, research finds

Actor Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones, one of the most popular TV box sets of recent years. Picture: Contributed
Actor Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones, one of the most popular TV box sets of recent years. Picture: Contributed
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IT’S the pastime that’s become ever more popular thanks to television streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.

But binge-watching popular drama series such as Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones can have additional benefits for couples than simply alleviating boredom, new research has suggested.

Watching TV with a partner or watching a movie you both like is a really easy way to improve relationship quality

Dr Sarah Gomillion

Academics at the University of Aberdeen have found that watching box sets and films together can improve relationship quality and commitment - particularly in couples who don’t share friends.

Couples who lack a shared social circle can compensate for their paucity of shared peers by ‘adopting’ the on-screen social groups as their own.

In a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, the more frequently couples shared media, like box-sets and movies with their partner, the higher the couples rated their relationship quality and commitment to the relationship.

The research measured the extent to which people shared media with their partners, whether they had a lot of friends in common and how they rated their relationship.

Results showed that when people didn’t share many friends with their partner, sharing media strongly predicted greater relationship quality, so the more that they shared media with their partner – the more that they reported that they felt close and committed to their partner and vice versa.

Dr Sarah Gomillion, who led the study, said: “Relationships are very big contributor to our physical and psychological health so understanding how relationships can be better and how you can improve relationships can also improve our physical and psychological health.

“What these results suggest to us is that when people have a hole in their social network that they share with their partners – they might become more motivated to share media as a way to compensate for that deficit.

“Watching TV with a partner or watching a movie you both like is a really easy way to improve relationship quality and anyone can do it at any time so if this is something that is good for relationships, it might help us identify an intervention that can improve relationship quality.”

READ MORE: Box set binges can seriously damage your health says Edinburgh study