CNN.COM REPORTS / EUROPE – A new study suggests that when a nation takes part in Eurovision, it has a 13% chance of higher “life satisfaction” among its population compared with those who don’t. This life satisfaction may in turn benefit their physical and mental health, according Filippos Filippidis, an epidemiologist in public health at Imperial College London, who led the study published Friday in the journal BMC Public Health. His team found that people were 4% more likely to be satisfied with their life for every increase of 10 places on the final score board — for example, if their country finished second rather than 12th.
However, doing badly in the contest was also associated with a greater increase in life satisfaction compared with not taking part at all. So, achieving “nul points” — a zero score — is not so bad after all. His team — from competing countries Greece, Italy, Ireland, Australia and the UK — is usually researching the effect of public policies, environmental factors and economic conditions on people’s lifestyle and health.But last year, during the competition, they began discussing whether it could also affect a country’s national well-being and decided to investigate.
They collected data from the Eurobarometer survey, which included answers from over 160,000 people from 33 European countries to a question on life satisfaction taken just after the finals of the contest between 2009 and 2015. They also analyzed each country’s performance in the contest, ranking those at 20th place or below as “terrible.” Winning was not associated with improved life satisfaction, but the higher the ranking per 10 places, the higher the odds of being “very satisfied.”
The scientists also compared data from countries that participated but did badly with those that didn’t take part at all. They found that taking part but finishing near the bottom of the table was associated with a 13% higher chance of life satisfaction compared with not taking part in the competition. Filippidis said the results surprised him. “I thought there may be something there, but the results were quite consistent across countries.
Professor Mike Berry, consultant clinical forensic psychologist at Birmingham City University, wasn’t involved in the study but described the work as “a really interesting, amusing and well-designed study.” He added that although it did not show causation, the link with greater satisfaction sounded “feasible.” However, he said the problem was that the effect was fleeting. “There was a marked increase in attendance and productivity during the 1966 World Cup soccer finals in England, which England won,” he explained. “Workers attended factories every day, so they could talk about the various games.”