Mahjong Linked to Improved Mental Health: Study

Mahjong, a tile-based game developed in China in the 19th century, is now played all over the world by millions. Usually contested between four people, Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, and a little bit of luck. Besides being a fun & challenging hobby, a new study finds that Mahjong may also be beneficial from a mental health perspective, Study Finds reports.

Regularly playing Mahjong was linked to reduced depression rates among middle-aged and older Chinese adults, according to researchers at the University of Georgia. The research team investigated a number of different social activities and their impact on mental health among a Chinese population sample.

Mental health has become a major problem in China. In fact, just China alone accounts for 17% of the global mental disorder burden. Furthermore, China, like many other nations, continues to see its older adult population increase thanks to improved medical care. Despite this, the rate of mental health problems in China linked to isolation or loneliness is on the rise.

It’s already been well established that maintaining an active social life well into adulthood and old age can be beneficial for mental health, but the majority of research on the subject has been performed in developed nations like the United States and Japan.

“Social participation manifests itself in different formats within different cultural contexts,” comments study co-author Adam Chen, an associate professor of health policy and management at UGA’s College of Public Health, in a media release. “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.”

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