Team Sports and Mental Health

Over the last several years, college campuses have experienced increasing demand for mental health services (1).

A 2021 survey from the American College Health Association showed 75% of survey participants reported moderate to serious psychological distress (2)

While there are many options for mental health treatment, a recent study looked at the potential benefits of team sports (3).

What was the study? (1)

A meta analysis (1) looking at 371 queried articles, 34 studies from 10 countries across 4 continents (3).

What were the results? (1)

The results of this review article showed the following benefits of team sports (3):

  • 5 studies showed that sport participation was associated with decreased depression/anxiety rates (OR 0.59, 95%CI 0.54–0.64). (3)
  • 7 studies showed improved social health outcomes with team sport participation. (Social health outcomes included academic performance, commitment, psychosocial health, social behavior/identity, and delinquency/high-risk activity. (3)
  • 5 studies showed that team sport participation decreased rates of cigarette/tobacco use (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.69–0.76) (3).
  • 7 studies showed that team sports participation decreased alcohol/drug use (1) (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.69–0.77). (3)

What are some team sports options on campus?

  • Take a class involving team sports for course credit.
  • Join a team through OSU rec sports.
  • Play a team sport with friends on a regular basis.

Other thoughts:

  • You don’t have to be very athletic to participate in recreational sports.
  • Some students join team sports as a substitute/extra player so that you don’t have to play every week.
  • Some students may not be able to participate in team sports due to scheduling limitations.
  • Some students may find it stressful to participate in team sports.
  • Check with your health professional if participating in team sports is appropriate for you.

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

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 Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.  Permission to use/cite this article: contact patel.2350@osu.edu

References:

  1. https://ccmh.psu.edu/assets/docs/2021-CCMH-Annual-Report.pdf
  2. American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment III: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2021. Silver Spring, MD: American College Health Association; 2021.
  3. Scott L. Zuckerman, Alan R. Tang, Kelsey E. Richard, Candace J. Grisham, Andrew W. Kuhn, Christopher M. Bonfield & Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn(2021) The behavioral, psychological, and social impacts of team sports: a systematic review and meta-analysis, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 49:3, 246-261, DOI: 1080/00913847.2020.1850152

 

Attitude towards leisure and impact on mental health

“We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.”- Dr Steven R. Covey, Author, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Dr Covey, in the above book, mentions the importance of taking care of our minds and bodies so that we can function at our best.  One such way to take care of our mind could be through some amount leisure activities.

Previous posts discussed various leisure activities and benefits of leisure activities on mental health.

This post looks at how our attitudes towards leisure activities can impact enjoyment and mental health.

What is leisure?

One definition of leisure is pleasurable activities that individuals engage in voluntarily when they are free from the demands of work or other responsibilities (1).

What was the study? (2)

Tonietto and colleagues published a paper that included 4 studies with a total of 1310 participants, looking at attitude towards leisure and its impact (2).

What activities were studied? (2)

  • Hanging out with friends
  • Relaxing
  • Watching TV
  • Hobbies
  • Exercising
  • Meditating
  • Volunteering

What were the results?

  • In studies 1 and 2, people with a general tendency to find leisure wasteful report lower enjoyment of leisure activities on average, especially activities performed as an end in itself vs those performed as a means to an end (2).
  • Studies 1 and 2 also show that the belief that leisure is wasteful is also associated with lower reported happiness, and greater reported depression, anxiety, and stress (2).
  • Studies 3 and 4 (looking at causality)  show that believing that leisure is wasteful or unproductive reduces enjoyment of terminally-motivated leisure activities; but believing that leisure is productive does not increase enjoyment (2).

What does this mean?

  • According to this set of studies (2), participants having a negative attitude towards leisure activities experienced a negative impact from doing them.
  • The results were true whether the leisure activity was active (exercising) or passive (watching TV), social (hanging out with friends) or solitary (meditating) (2).

Other examples of healthy leisure activities (3) can be found here.

  • When balancing work and self care, different people might benefit from different types and amount of play during leisure time. How much and what type of leisure is best for you? What is your attitude towards leisure and how does/did this impact its potential benefit to you?

Campus resources on leisure:

Other useful resources on campus: https://ccs.osu.edu/services/mental-health-support

Learn more about play: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2016/09/28/study-play-and-leisures-impact-on-mood-stress-and-wellbeing/

New items are posted monthly, if you would like to be notified of future posts, please enter your email above.

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Zhang J, Zheng Y.  How do academic stress and leisure activities influence college students’ emotional well-being? A daily diary investigation. J Adolesc. 2017 Oct;60:114-118. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.08.003. Epub 2017 Aug 23.
  2. Gabriela N. Tonietto, Selin A. Malkoc, Rebecca Walker Reczek, Michael I. Norton, Viewing leisure as wasteful undermines enjoyment,Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 97,2021,104198,ISSN 0022-1031, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2021.104198.
  1. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/category/recess/

Time in Nature and Mental Health

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

A previous post examined a variety of leisure activities and mental health (1).

In this post, we look at time spent in nature and its impact on self reports of good health and well-being (2).

Who was studied? (2)

19,806 participants from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2014/15–2015/16). (2)

What was studied? (2)

Researchers (2) looked at the relationship between time spent in nature in the last 7 days (in 60 min categories) and self-reported health (Good vs. poor) and subjective well-being (High vs. low) (2).

What were the results? (2)

  • The authors (2) found that Compared to no nature contact last week, the likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being became significantly greater with contact ≥120 mins (2).
  • Positive associations peaked between 200–300 mins per week with no further gain (2).
  • It did not matter how 120 mins of contact a week was achieved (e.g. one long vs. several shorter visits/week). (2)

What are some caveats?

  • This was a cross-sectional study design, which tells us about association, not cause and effect.
  • Benefits remained even when accounting for living in a low green space area (2).
  • Other research (3) indicates health benefits of walking in a forested area for ~16 minutes and viewing for ~14 minutes.

What are some examples of other healthy leisure activities (4)?

  • Spending quiet time alone
  • Visiting others
  • Eating with others
  • Doing fun things with others
  • Clubs/fellowship, and religious group participation
  • Vacationing
  • Communing with nature
  • Playing or watching sports
  • Hobbies

Also consider:

  • Working out or taking exercise classes
  • Meditating
  • Volunteering
  • Participating in an activities based student organization
  • Journaling
  • Drawing/coloring/painting

Anything else that can help?

In addition to leisure activities, the following activities can also help with physical and emotional health, wellness, stress:

sleep habits, etc.) (4)

  • Avoiding harmful habits(smoking, drug use, excessive alcohol, poor or inadequate nutrition, etc) (4)
  • This balance might vary from person to person.

Are there any campus resources on play?

Could spending time in nature benefit you?

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/09/27/leisure-academics-and-mental-health/
  2. White MP, Alcock I, Grellier J, et al. Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing. Sci Rep. 2019;9(1):7730. Published 2019 Jun 13. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-44097-3.
  3. Park, B. J., Tsunetsugu, Y., Kasetani, T., Kagawa, T. & Miyazaki, Y. The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environ Health Prev 15, 18–26 (2010).
  4. Pressman, S. D, et. al. Association of Enjoyable Leisure Activities With Psychological and Physical Well-Being. Psychosomatic Medicine: September 2009 – Volume 71 – Issue 7 – pp 725-732 doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181ad7978Top of Form