A new study carried out in the USA and published in the book “Sports fans have more friends” authored by David Sikorczak together with Ben Valente, senior vice president of Fox Sports demonstrated how fans of any sports team, really does not matter which team and which field – from Manchester United to In the class group in a skipping competition – mentally healthier.
In the USA, as in many other parts of the Western world, social loneliness is an epidemic – 61% of Americans report loneliness, so this study gives hope or direction to many people. The study included about ten thousand American participants, who filled out the UCLA Loneliness Scale questionnaire – this is A 20-question questionnaire that tests feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
The findings demonstrated that fans of sports teams feel less lonely, and experience a degree of belonging to the sports team, and as a result are happier and more mentally healthy. The more active the fan is in the group’s activities (organizing activities and meetings, participating in competitions) – the greater the beneficial effect.
Other interesting findings published in the book include:
- The more involved the sports fan, the stronger his family ties
- Sports fans report higher satisfaction with their careers and relationships
- Fans are more likely to vote in elections and participate in institutional events
- Fans are more likely to report feeling happy and grateful
And what about those who don’t connect to the whole sports thing? There is a solution for them too: it turns out that the main thing is belonging to a group, and in general no matter what field – art, cooking or bridge at the community center – the very fact that you are part of a group helps to feel connected, and this is an important part of our mental health, it gives us a sense of meaning, of being part of something bigger. The group also has the power to influence, and this gives a positive feeling of control and security.
In the age of the Internet, even people who find it difficult to leave the house due to various disabilities can find groups to belong to. The authors of the book just end with a small caveat: pay attention to which group you join. Unfortunately, there are no shortage of toxic, violent, or racist groups on the net.