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Attending live sports found to improve well-being, reduce loneliness

Attending live sport improves well-being, reduces loneliness
Estimated marginal means for subjective well-being (SWB - life satisfaction, a sense that life is worthwhile), and loneliness by age group or employment and attendance at live sporting events (LSE). These plots indicate the magnitude of the effects seen alongside demographic predictors with comparable effect sizes. Estimates are provided for age group at 1 standard deviation below the mean (−1 SD, 25–34 years), at the mean (age group 45–54 years) and at 1 standard deviation above the mean (+1 SD, 65–74 years). Error bars indicate 95% confidence intervals for estimated marginal mean estimates. Credit: Frontiers in Public Health (2023). DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.989706

New scientific research has found that attending live sporting events improves levels of well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness.

Published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, the research is the first large-scale study to examine the benefits of attending any type of live sporting event.

The study, carried out by academics from Anglia Ruskin University's School of Psychology and Sport Science, used data from 7,209 adults, aged 16-85, living in England who participated in the Taking Part Survey, which was commissioned by the British Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

It found that attending live sporting events results in higher scores of two major measurements of subjective well-being—life satisfaction and a sense of "life being worthwhile"—as well as lower levels of loneliness.

These results are significant as previous studies have shown that higher scores are associated with fewer life-limiting conditions and better , successful aging, and lower mortality rates.

The new study also found that attending live sporting events leads to an increase in people's sense that "life is worthwhile," and the size of this increase is comparable to that of gaining employment.

Many initiatives currently promote the benefits of physical participation in sport, but the researchers believe that watching live sporting events can also offer an accessible and effective public health tool for improving well-being and reducing loneliness.

Lead author Dr. Helen Keyes, Head of the School of Psychology and Sport Science at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said, "Previous research has focused on specific sports or small population samples, such as college students in the United States. Ours is the first study to look at the benefits of attending any across an , and therefore our findings could be useful for shaping future strategies, such as offering reduced ticket prices for certain groups.

"The covered by the survey ranged from free amateur events, such as watching village sports teams, right through to Premier League football matches. Therefore, further research needs to be carried out to see if these benefits are more pronounced for elite level sport, or are more closely linked to supporting a specific team."

"However, we do know that watching live sport of all types provides many opportunities for and this helps to forge group identity and belonging, which in turn mitigates loneliness and boosts levels of well-being."

More information: Helen Keyes et al, Attending live sporting events predicts subjective wellbeing and reduces loneliness, Frontiers in Public Health (2023). DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.989706

Journal information: Frontiers in Public Health
Citation: Attending live sports found to improve well-being, reduce loneliness (2023, March 17) retrieved 20 May 2024 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-03-sports-well-being-loneliness.html
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