Relationships between Spectator Identification and Spectators' Perceptions of Influence, Spectators' Emotions, and Competition Outcome

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Previous research has indicated that spectators can influence the outcomes of athletic competitions. In Study 1, spectators' perceptions of their ability to influence the contests were examined. Results indicated that high levels of identification with sports teams were related to greater perceptions of influence. It was further predicted that high-identification fans would exhibit the most intense affective reactions to competition outcome. In Study 2 this proposition was tested and supported. High-identification fans reported an increase in pre- to postgame positive emotions following a win and an increase in negative emotions following a loss. Emotional changes were minimal for fans low in team identification. Finally, a third study was used to examine possible changes in team identification as a result of competition outcome for historically successful and marginally successful teams. The results indicated that although past team success was an important predictor of identification level, levels were not affected by game outcome.

Daniel L. Wann and Thomas J. Dolan are with the Dept. of Psychology at Murray State University, Murray, KY 42071-3305. Kimberly K. McGeorge and Julie A. Allison are with the Dept. of Psychology at Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS 66762.