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The Effect of Floorball Training on Health Status, Psychological Health and Social Capital in Older Men

Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Special Issues: Sports-Based Health Interventions

This article presents the results of a multidisciplinary study which investigated the effects of a period with floorball training on health status, psychological health and social capital of older men. Thirty-nine untrained men aged 69.9 ± 0.6 (range: 65–76) were randomized into a group playing floorball (n = 22) or a group playing petanque (n = 17) one hour twice a week for 12 weeks. Both groups filled out the Health Survey Short Form (SF-12) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) before and after the 12-week intervention. Linear regression analyses with bootstrapping showed that the men in the floorball group improved in the SF-12 composite score for mental health, as well as the HADS subscales anxiety and depression, compared to the men in the petanque group. In addition, 21 interviews were conducted with a sample of the men engaged in floorball. According to the statements in the interviews, the men in the floorball group experienced a high degree of solidarity and group cohesion which seemed to have increased their social capital during the intervention. In particular, the fun and joyful experiences of playing led to a high degree of social connectedness, which were mentioned by many of the men as the main reason for their participation throughout the 12-week period. The statistical results and the interview findings suggest that participation in a ball game such as floorball has several benefits regarding health status, psychological health and social capital and in addition that playing floorball is experienced as enjoyable amongst older men. Thus, it can be concluded that floorball is an activity that benefits older men and should be provided in relevant contexts, such as e.g. sport clubs or centres for seniors.
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