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ISER Working Paper Series 2005-14

Cinema is good for you: the effects of cinema attendance on self reported anxiety or depression and 'happiness'

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Publication date

01 Aug 2005

Abstract

I analyse the effects of cinema attendance on psychological well-being and happiness. The type of visual stimulation unique to film provokes an emotive response holding therapeutic properties. The collective and controlled experience of this emotive response promotes well-being generally. This analysis differs from most research into the effect of leisure on happiness, anxiety or depression, and well-being because it focuses on the effects of sensory stimulation and its resulting emotion inducing properties as opposed to leisure pursuits involving physical conditioning. This work differs further by systematically comparing 10 different leisure activities against cinema attendance in their relative affects on happiness and self-reported anxiety and depression. Using data from wave 12 of the British Household Panel Study, I find that cinema attendance has strong positive effects on happiness and stable negative effects on self-reporting of anxiety or depression, even when controlling for various socio-demographic and economic factors. This research confirms, therefore, that cinema is a unique leisure activity with beneficial properties for well-being.

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working paper

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