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13 Million British men have PMT (Pre match tension)? I don’t think so!

June 11th, 2006

Dr Petra

The World Cup has started and of course companies all over the globe are hoping to cash in on our football fever to promote their products.

So watch the press because over the next few weeks you can expect to see lots of world-cup related ‘surveys’.

To kick off here’s a great example of how to spin sport and syndromes.

According to a hotel chain, 13 million British men have PMT (Pre-Match Tension). They believe watching England perform in the World Cup is one of the most stressful events of their lives. I wonder if these figures apply internationally? Perhaps fans from countries like Iran, Angola, Serbia and Mexico also find the World Cup to be the most stressful event of their lives too?

In the UK we can apparently expect this trauma to have far-reaching effects since according to the PR Company selling this story it’s causing sleep problems and mood swings. Better watch out if you’re from the East Midlands, which according to the research appears to be the epicentre of PMT.

According to the PR Company the survey of 2000 people can be extrapolated to the wider population meaning that nearly 7 million men find watching the world cup more stressful then an interview and more demanding than their wedding day.

Here are the warning signs so you can check your partner and also to spot the prevalence of PMT symptoms:
- One in three men (30%) are unable concentrate on family and work matters
- A quarter of men (25%) say football is their number one priority
- One in ten men’s (10%) performance in bed will suffer
- Almost six million men (25%) would rather watch the game than have sex
- Over 3 million men (14%) expect to be more moody and irritable during the competition

And somehow from all these figures they’ve got the statistic that 53% of men will be affected by PMT.

The survey also found that men will tackle their PMT symptoms by drinking alcohol (40%) which is always a great way to combat mood swings and a dwindling sex drive – not.

But don’t worry ladies; it’s not just the fellas who’re struck down by PMT. According to this survey over 6 million women are also as stressed as men about the world cup.

As I’ve often complained about in this blog, often the stats from these PR ‘surveys’ are broken down via regions to show different percentages, and press releases then claim these indicate ‘significant’ differences. Normally it’s difficult to get a breakdown of results but a colleague who’d been sent the press release for this PMT study very helpfully forwarded to me, so you can see their actual ‘data’ below:

The research revealed men in the following regions (top five) are the most stressed before England World Cup games:
East Midlands – 35%
London – 34%
South East – 28%
Yorkshire – 26%
West Midlands – 24%

Men in the following regions (top five) have the most trouble sleeping the night before England World Cup games:
London – 14%
South East – 7%
North West – 7%
East Midlands – 6%
Yorkshire – 5%

More men in the following regions (top five) have dreamt about scoring England’s winning goal in a World Cup final:
London – 30%
North West – 22%
West Midlands – 19%
East Midlands – 17%
Yorkshire – 15%

Men in the following regions (top five) will perform the worst in bed during the World Cup:
London – 11%
Wales – 6%
East Anglia – 5%
Scotland – 4%
North East – 4%

As you can see there’s no analysis, and no data’s given to indicate how many people these stats are based on (e.g. are the percentages based on the whole sample or on those who responded to the question). Often there’s barely any difference between those seen as the ‘most affected’ and other groups. And although women were supposedly included the questions don’t seem to have been aimed at them at all.

However, a non-story, duff survey and invented syndrome weren’t enough to put off the papers. The Times, Independent, Herald and New Zealand Herald were all happy to give the travel company some free advertising.

I can’t decide who deserves the red card here. The hotel chain for such a crummy idea, or the press for giving them publicity.

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