Rooting for your country in the Eurovision Song Contest may have the ability to improve your your mood, a study has found.
The annual competition, known for its blend of eccentricity and flamboyance, will take place this Saturday in Portugal.
Researchers at Imperial College London found people were four percent more likely to be satisfied with their life for every increase of 10 places their country gains on the final scoreboard.
The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, also found doing badly in the contest was associated with a greater increase in life satisfaction compared to not taking part at all – so even a score of nils points isn’t all that bad.
“This finding emerged from a jokey conversation in our department. Our ‘day job’ involves investigating the effect of public policies, environmental factors and economic conditions on people’s lifestyle and health,” said lead study author Dr Filippos Filippidis.
“Our department employs people from lots of different countries and around the time of the Eurovision Song Contest we were chatting about whether the competition could also affect a country’s national wellbeing.
“We looked into it and were surprised to see there may be a link.”
For the study, researchers analysed data from more than 160,000 people from 33 European countries.
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Participants completed a questionnaire as part of the survey, which included answering how satisfied they felt with their lives.
The team, who analysed data collected around the time of the Eurovision Song Contest between 2009 and 2015, found that people reported being more satisfied with their life if their country had done well in the contest that year.
They found an increase of 10 places on the final scoreboard was associated with a four percent higher chance of being satisfied, but found winning the competition was not associated with an additional increase in satisfaction.
The researchers found taking part, but finishing near the bottom of the table, was associated with a 13 percent higher chance of life satisfaction.
Although there is only an association with satisfaction – rather than directly showing Eurovision is responsible for satisfaction – the researchers say it highlights how big events may impact a country’s psyche.
“It increases the amount of good feeling around, even among people who are not particularly interested in the competition,” Filippidis added.
“I remember when Greece won in 2005 – in the weeks that followed people seemed to be in a better mood.”
The UK doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to the Eurovision Song Contest, with Britain last claiming victory in the competition in 1997 with “Love Shine a Light” by Katrina and the Waves.
The current favourite to win this year’s contest is Cyprus’ Eleni Foureira, alongside the entries from Israel and France.