The Identity Work of Health-Conscious Sport Fans

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Merrimack College, North Andover, MA, USA
  • | 2 University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA
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Simultaneous to the sport industry’s economic surge, physical health has become an issue of growing societal concern. Fandom and health consciousness have concurrently emerged, yet scholars have not explored the social–psychological relationship between the two. To this end, we conducted semistructured, in-depth interviews with 17 self-identified health-conscious sport fans. We leverage identity theory to highlight these individuals’ “identity work.” Participants’ experiences were reflective of both identity conflict and identity integration. The outcome that manifested—conflict or integration—appeared to hinge on psychological and sociological variables. In sharing their stories, we contribute to a growing literature on role identity negotiation in sport fandom, in addition to providing insights on health-minded sport fans.

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