Pressure taking its toll on investors' health

By Cheng Yingqi (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-03 07:22
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BEIJING - More than 60 percent of investors in the stock market in China say they regularly experience negative moods, according to a recent health survey.

On Wednesday, the Chinese Medical Doctor Association, the Chinese Hospital Association, the Beijing Health Maintenance Organization and the Ciming Checkup Company jointly released the results of a survey based on the polling of 376,750 stock market investors on the Chinese mainland. The survey was conducted between October 2010 and February 2011.

Some 61.3 percent of respondents said they felt negative moods while 11 percent experienced fatigue, 9.3 percent were irritable and 8.9 percent could not shake a feeling of disinterest in life.

Among those who had problems for more than 10 days in a month, 12.7 percent said they were suffering from extreme pressure, 8.9 percent said they had cut down their communications with others, 8.1 percent felt mental stress, 5.7 percent sensed isolation and 1.7 percent had contemplated suicide.

"The stock market is unpredictable, so investors need to find ways to deal with the ups and downs and attach importance to their health," said Han Xiaohong, president of the Ciming Checkup Company, who headed the research team.

Nearly 30 percent of respondents said they spent between five and eight hours a day in front of computers trying to find ways to win on the markets. Some 30.3 percent followed the stock market for three to five hours a day and 17.8 percent spent less than three hours on the task.

As a result of using computers for long periods, 22.2 percent felt pain in their necks and shoulders and 20.9 percent said the activity harmed their eyes.

Many of the stock market players had health conditions. Some 16.8 percent had cervical disease, 13.8 percent suffered from fatty livers, 10.9 percent were obese and 4.4 percent had mental disorders.

"The market slumped sharply in recent weeks and, if I had known it, I could have withdrawn my money," said Wei Bo, 56, a netizen in Beijing.

Wei used to spend hours playing the markets every day until recently, when he came to realize the lifestyle was unhealthy.

"You can never predict what will happen on the market from one minute to the next, so it is not reasonable to obsess over every decision," he said. "Moreover, everyone will be together when there is a dramatic slump, so what the point of panicking?"

Wang Shaoli, vice-director of the Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in China, said stock investors need to find ways to cope or they will not be playing the markets for long.

"Instead of blaming the stock market, they should look at their own attitudes," said Wang, who noted that many people start investing because they want to get rich. In extreme cases, some throw every cent they have into stocks and even borrow money to speculate.

"For them, the only thing that matters is success. So they are facing excessive pressure every day, which can disturb their sleep, digestive systems and cardiovascular systems," Wang said.

"So, investors should adjust their attitude if they want to keep playing the market."

China had 133.67 million active stock market accounts in April, according to the latest statistics released by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.