According to the saying, there’s no ‘I’ in team – and when it comes to team sport, there’s not much depression, anxiety or stress either. The latest findings from Roy Morgan Research show that the 1.35 million Australian adults who participate regularly in some kind of team sport* are noticeably less likely than the average Aussie to experience these mental health conditions.
Between 2013 and 2014, 25% of Australians aged 18+ reported experiencing stress at some point in the preceding 12 months, compared with 21% of those who regularly play a team sport. Some 16% suffered from anxiety, a figure which fell to 12% of regular team-sport players; and 14% had depression, considerably higher than the 8% of those who play regular team sport.
This difference is most striking among the under-25 age group, with all three conditions being far less common among those who play team sport on a regular basis. Incidence of anxiety fell from 31% to 17%, depression from 17% to 8%, and anxiety from 20% to 10%.
The effect of regular team sports participation on depression, anxiety and stress
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2013 – December 2014 (n=95,696). Base: Australians 18+. NB: Team sports include: AFL, Basketball, Cricket, Field hockey, Netball, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Soccer, Softball, Baseball, Volleyball.
Anxiety, depression and stress are also less common in people from other age groups who regularly participate in team sports.
For example, 30% of Aussies aged 35-49 reported experiencing stress last year, but this fell to 24% of those who play regular team sport. Similarly, 13% of 25-35 year-olds suffered depression – compared with 6% of regular team-sport players from that age bracket.
Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:
“Everybody knows sport is good for you: its fitness and weight-loss benefits are well known and widely promoted. But the positive impact of team sport on mental/emotional well-being is just as important, with some far-reaching implications.
“As our latest findings show, people who regularly participate in team sports such as netball, soccer, AFL and cricket are much less likely to suffer from anxiety, stress and depression, the mental health conditions most commonly experienced by Australian adults. This reduced incidence is evident even among the vulnerable 18-24 age group.
“Whether it’s due to the endorphin rush of high-impact exercise, the satisfaction of working towards a shared goal, the social support system that comes with being part of a team, or a combination of all these factors, the overall benefit of team sport on mental health is undeniable.
“Not only is this good news for the people directly involved, but also for the wider population, as it eases the pressure on our already stretched healthcare system.”
Roy Morgan Research
Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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