Did chess players have better mental state amidst the pandemic? - An assessment through the DASS index among Indians
Background and Aim: The Covid 19 pandemic has created the most vulnerable health situation, forcing it to change the lives of billions. The main aim of this study is to evaluate the difference in mental health conditions between a chess-playing and non-chess-playing (control) group to determine the positive impacts of the game.
Methods: 400 participants were selected for the study (cases=100, controls=300) during the second wave of Covid-19 in India. An individual with a record of playing chess was included in the case group, while anyone who does not play chess was chosen as the control. This was a voluntary study wherein self-administered google forms were used as questionnaires to obtain data. Internal consistency, categorical analysis using Pearson Chi-Square Test at 95% confidence, t-test for the mean difference of DASS scores, and odds ratio at 95% confidence intervals were assessed.
Results: Internal consistency of the DASS index was high, with Cronbach's alphas of 0.9103 and 0.9443, respectively, for the chess-playing and control groups. Categorical analysis revealed that regularity and intensity had no association in alleviating mental health situations but reduced the risk of mental health deterioration among chess players (OR= 0.3628; 95% CI 0.166-0.789). Independent t-tests revealed significantly lower DASS scores for the chess-playing group concerning depression and total DASS index.
Conclusion: This study has generated preliminary evidence and calls for further research to understand the extent of this positive outcome. Enough evidence in this regard would appeal to the popularization and extensive coverage of chess.
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