Football fans experience intense levels of stress

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Kathmandu, January 25

Researchers from University of Oxford suggested that devoted football fans faced intense levels of physical stress while watching their favorite teams, putting themselves at the risk of a heart attack.

The researchers tracked saliva of Brazilian fans during their historic loss to Germany at the 2014 World Cup and found levels of the hormone cortisol rocketed during the 7-1 home defeat in the semi-final.

As per the BBC, the researchers also tested cortisol levels in 40 fans' saliva before, during and after three World Cup matches.

The study claimed that the stress could be dangerous, increasing blood pressure and strain on the heart.

There was no difference in stress levels between men and women during the game, despite preconceptions men are more "bonded to their football teams".

"Fans who are strongly fused with their team—that is, have a strong sense of being 'one' with their team—experience the greatest physiological stress response when watching a match," said Dr Martha Newson, researcher at the Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion, at Oxford, quoted as saying by the BBC. 

"Fans who are more casual supporters also experience stress but not so extremely," said Newson.

Raised cortisol could also give people a feeling of impending doom, that their life is in danger or they are under attack.

It was found that the most stressful by far was the semi-final.

However, the researchers found that the fans had used coping strategies such as humour and hugging to reduce their stress, bringing it down to pre-match levels by the final whistle.

Last modified on 2020-01-27 10:20:16

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