When it comes to reducing depression risk among middle-aged and older adults in China, playing a game of mahjong may be the answer, according to new research.
A study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine says that regularly playing the popular tile-based strategy game – mahjong – was one of several types of social participation linked to reduced rates of depression among middle-aged and older adults in China.
“Global economic and epidemiologic trends have led to significant increases in the burden of mental health among older adults, especially in the low and middle income countries,” said study co-author Adam Chen, Associate Professor at University of Georgia.
Poor mental health is a major issue in China, which accounts for 17 per cent of the global disease burden of mental disorders.
For the study, the research team analysed survey data from nearly 11,000 residents aged 45 years and older from the nationally representative China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study.
They looked at symptoms of depression and compared it to the type and frequency of social participation, including visiting with friends, playing mahjong, participating in a sport or social club, and volunteering in the community.
They found that, on the whole, participating in a wide variety of activities more frequently was associated with better mental health.
Specifically, urban residents who played mahjong, a popular strategy game, were less likely to feel depressed.
“What is more surprising is that mahjong playing does not associate with better mental health among rural elderly respondents. One hypothesis is that mahjong playing tends to be more competitive and at times become a means of gambling in rural China,” Chen added. (IANS)
As researchers have found that cyberbullying amplifyies symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people, health experts here also stressed that in some cases it can be far more horrifying than physical bullying.
According to the experts, cyberbullying is when a child, teen or youngster becomes a target of actions by others — using computers, cellphones or other devices — that are intended to embarrass, humiliate, torment, threaten or harass.
It can start as early as age eight or nine, but the majority of cyberbullying cases take place in the teenage years, up to age 17.
The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, addressed both the prevalence and factors related to cyberbullying in adolescent inpatients.
“Even against a backdrop of emotional challenges in the kids we studied, we noted cyberbullying had an adverse impact. It’s real and should be assessed,” said study co-author Philip D. Harvey, Professor at University of Miami in the US.
According to the researchers, children with a history of being abused were found to be more likely to be cyberbullied.
The study of 50 adolescent psychiatric inpatients aged 13 to 17 examined the prevalence of cyberbullying and related it to social media usage, current levels of symptoms and histories of adverse early life experience.
Conducted from September 2016 to April 2017, the research team asked participants to complete two childhood trauma questionnaires and a cyberbullying questionnaire.
Twenty per cent of participants reported that they had been cyberbullied within the last two months before their admission.
According to the researchers, half of the participants were bullied by text messages and half on Facebook.
Transmitted pictures or videos, Instagram, instant messages and chat rooms were other cyberbullying vehicles, the study said.
Those who were bullied had significantly higher severity of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anger, and fantasy dissociation than those who were not bullied.
According to findings, participants who reported being cyberbullied also reported significantly higher levels of lifetime emotional abuse on the study’s Childhood Trauma Questionnaire than those who were not bullied.
The internet not only covers the huge part of our lives nowadays, rather it actually dominates today’s generations’ lives, according to the expert.
“From setting beauty standards and norms to trolling every act has a significant effect on the psyche of internet users, especially on youth and children, it leads to stress and depression as well,” Mrinmay Kumar Das, Senior Consultant, Department of Behavioural Sciences, Jaypee Hospital in Noida, told IANS.
To reduce the risk of falling in this trap, Das suggested: “Keep an eye on the people you interact with online, keep your personal information or private details safe. Also keep in mind that your children who apparently act normal may also be dealing with cyber bullying.”
“Hence keep communicating with your children, rather than scolding them and forcefully limiting their internet use, support them to come out of this depressing phase, encourage them to indulge in other activities like games, music, etc,” Das added. (IANS)