Tag Archives: Impact of Sports on Mental Health

March Madness: Isolation Bubble for Players Is Fair, One Third of Americans Say TV Sports a Positive for Mental Health in Pandemic

Comfort in Attending Games Ticks Upward; Number Who Say They Are Doing Brackets Doubles

South Orange NJ, March 18, 2021 – The start of the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournament finds 59 percent of Americans stating that it is indeed fair for student athletes to comply with the “isolation bubble” requirement in order to play.

Of “sports fans,” that number goes to 69 percent, and of “avid fans,” 80 percent. Forty-eight percent of those who call themselves “non-fans” still think it is fair.

Sports Has Positive Effect on Mental Health Over Past Year
Perhaps to some extent that view has been tempered by a sense of need. The Poll found that sports on TV – even without fans – has had a positive effect on the American psyche over the course of the last year.  Thirty-nine percent of the general population – self-described fans and non-fans alike – say that sports on TV has had a positive effect on the mental health of most Americans, while 33 percent cite sports as being beneficial to their own mental health.

Those numbers rise, understandably, amongst sports fans. Seventy-three percent of avid fans believe that sports on TV has aided in bolstering the country’s mental health during the pandemic, with 60 percent saying it has helped their own. Among sports fans in general, 47 percent believe it has helped the nation, while more than half – 51 percent – say it has helped them personally.

“The pandemic has taken its toll on all of us,” said Professor Juan Rios, a licensed clinical social worker and director of the graduate Master of Social Work program at Seton Hall University. “Sports has offered us a much needed outlet from social isolation and has functioned in some ways as a coping mechanism, providing an extension of community through collective spectatorship and camaraderie. Sports on TV has provided us with a feeling of at least some level of normalcy in an otherwise abnormal time.”

These were the findings of a Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted among 1,538 adults geographically spread across the country March 13-15, with a margin of error of +/-3.2 percent.

Sporting Event Attendance, Indoors Ticking Upward
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