Avid Fantasy Football Players “Likely to Have Mental Health Problems”

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Fantasy Football fans who spend the most time playing, researching and reflecting on their fictional teams may have more serious mental health issues than other online game players, a new study has suggested.

Players who engaged the most in the game were more likely to experience bad moods and anxiety when playing or thinking about it, according to Nottingham Trent University Sports. psychologists.

Fantasy football is an online game in which players create their own virtual teams with a limited budget and earn points for the actual performance of star footballers on their teams.

The researchers collected data from nearly 2,000 fantasy football players, who played on different platforms. (Photo: Getty)

The researchers collected data from nearly 2,000 fantasy football players, who played on different platforms.

It is believed to be the first study to examine the mental health of those who play the game, where individuals can form their own virtual squad to earn points and compete with others.

The study, conducted via an online questionnaire, suggested that the majority of players had no mental health issues regarding their fantasy football.

But there were significant correlations between poor mental health and player engagement levels.

fantasy football
Researchers argue that game developers and gamers themselves should be doing more to monitor the amount of time spent gaming. (Photo: Getty)

Overall, a quarter of participants reported a slightly depressed mood – which can include sadness, anger, frustration, fatigue, and low self-esteem – when playing, researching, or think about the game.

However, this percentage rose to 44% among high-commitment players.

Research also found that mild anxiety rose from one-fifth of participants to 34%, and disruption in gamers’ lives more than doubled from 14% overall to 37% of gamers. who spent the most time involved in the game.

High engagement was classified as those who played in six or more leagues simultaneously, played more than 45 minutes a day, researched more than an hour a day, or spent more than two hours a day thinking to their fantasy football.

Those who had increased fantasy football experience – when someone had been playing for 11 years or more – reported significantly better mental health than those who had been playing for less time, the researchers found.

They suggest that it could be because those who can better manage their mental health may continue to play the game.

It could also be because players were able to develop various coping mechanisms to deal with the ups and downs of the game, according to the team.

Researchers argue that game developers and gamers themselves should do more to monitor the amount of time spent playing games.

Study participants were of 96 nationalities, had an average age of 33, and the vast majority (96%) were men. (Photo: Getty)

Dr Luke Wilkins, expert in sports and exercise psychology at the School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Although it is positive that only a minority report mental health problems In relation to their fantasy football, it is concerning that higher levels of engagement appear to increase the likelihood of experiencing mood and anxiety issues and appear to have a negative impact on the lives of players.

“Fantastic football is impossible to win for the vast majority of players and it is possible that the more invested a person is, the more negatively impacted they will be when they ‘lose’.

“Our study highlights the general positives that the game can bring, but also warns of potential negatives and justifies the idea that more should be done to monitor fantasy football time.”

Study participants were of 96 nationalities, had an average age of 33, and the vast majority (96%) were men.

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