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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Playing Mahjong Results to a More Active Social Life, Study Confirms


According to a study published in the scientific journal, Social Science & Medicine, conducted by the University of Georgia, playing Mahjong linked to improve mental health and lower the risk of depression after they found out that people playing it tend to have active social life.

Mahjong is a popular Chinese game played with sets of tiles usually by 4 people. The game was developed in the early 19th century, like many popular games, it has many rules that focus on the most basic rules of mahjong. It is a game of skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck.

Researches of the University of Georgia working together with scientists from China’s Huazhong University of Science and Technology, conducted a survey to 11,000 Chinese residents aged 45 or older.

Symptoms of any mental disease among respondents were analyzed, and compared to their actual social interactions in different activities. Different types of social activities included playing Mahjong, visiting friends, playing a sport, and volunteering in the community were considered.

Later on, they found out that people who are regularly playing Mahjong was linked to reduced depression rates among middle-aged and older Chinese adults.

Mental health illness is the major problem facing China today, as in fact 17% of the global records of mental disorder burden came from them.

It came out that the rate of mental health problems in China are linked to isolation or loneliness of the people.

“Social participation manifests itself in different formats within different cultural contexts,” comments study co-author Adam Chen of UGA’s College of Public Health, said in a media.

“Our paper provides evidence on the association between social participation and mental health in the context of a developing country. We also examined the rural-urban difference, which has not been examined extensively in this line of literature.” He added.

Overall, the study found that people who participate in a variety of social activities on a frequent basis tend to have strong mental health.

As for playing Mahjong, older adults living in urban areas were less likely to be depressed if they played the strategy game.

“What is more surprising is that mahjong playing does not associate with better mental health among rural elderly respondents,” Chen said.

“One hypothesis is that mahjong playing tends to be more competitive and at times become a means of gambling in rural China.” He added.

Researchers are hopping that their findings help to promote more robust social programs especially for older Chinese adults. They also believed that the study could prove to be beneficial to the greater Asian-American community as well.

“Older Asian Americans have a much higher proportion of suicidal thoughts than whites and African Americans,” Chen concludes.

“Improving social participation among older Asian Americans may help to address this burden to the U.S. population health that has not received due attention.” He added.

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