Watching sports broadcasts improves well-being
The study is the first to show significant benefits for a large adult population.
New scientific evidence shows that attending live sporting events improves well-being and eases feelings of isolation. This first extensive study of its kind, published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health, explores the benefits of participating in any form of sporting activity.
The study, conducted by researchers at the School of Psychology and Sports Science at Anglia Ruskin University, used data from 7,209 adults aged 16 to 85 living in England who participated in the Taking Participation survey, which was commissioned by the British government’s Digital Technology Department. , culture, media and sports.
Attendance at live sporting events has been found to result in higher scores on the two main measures of subjective well-being—life satisfaction and a sense of “life worth”—as well as lower levels of loneliness.
These findings are important because previous research has shown that higher rates of life satisfaction are associated with fewer life-limiting conditions and better physical health, successful aging, and lower mortality rates.
The new study also found that attending live sporting events leads to an increase in people’s feeling that “life is worth it” and the size of this increase is comparable to getting a job.
Many initiatives are currently promoting the benefits of physical participation in sports, but researchers believe that watching live sports may also offer an affordable and effective public health tool to improve well-being and reduce loneliness.
Lead author Dr. Helen Keyes, head of the School of Psychology and Sports 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. Our study is the first to look at the benefits of attending any sporting event for the adult population, and therefore our findings may be useful in shaping future public health strategies, such as offering discounted ticket prices for certain groups.
“Live coverage covered by the survey ranged from free amateur events like watching village sports teams to Premier League football matches. Therefore, further research is needed to find out if these benefits are more pronounced for elite-level sports or more closely related to support for a particular team.
“However, we know that watching sports of all kinds provides many opportunities for social interaction, and this helps to build group identity and belonging, which in turn alleviates loneliness and increases levels of well-being.”
Reference: “Live sports attendance predicts subjective well-being and reduces feelings of loneliness,” Helen Keys, Sarah Gradidge, Nicola Gibson, Anneli Harvey, Shayanne Roeloffs, Magdalena Zawisza, and Suzanne Forwood, January 4, 2023, Frontiers in Public Health.