Even though long-suffering sports fans often feel the blues when their teams perennially fail to win championships, scientific studies are showing that passionate sports fans are actually less prone to depression and alienation and even have higher self-esteem than those who are not sports fans.
According to the New York Times, “a growing body of scientific research and some compelling empirical evidence suggest that sports fans, even the foam-at-the-mouth variety, are less prone to depression and alienation than people who are immune to such maladies as March Madness and pennant fever.”
Since the 1990s, researchers have discovered that passionate and “highly identified” fans experienced “higher levels of arousal–measured by heart rate, brain waves and perspiration–and had fewer bouts of depression and alienation than non-fans.”
Furthermore, the research indicates that “hard-core fans even have higher self-esteem.”
Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said sports fandom is a “cheap high,” does not mean that sports fans “don’t have a life,” and is a “source of validation for their self-conception.”