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Janet S. Fink, Heidi M. Parker, Martin Brett and Julie Higgins

In the current article, we extend the literature on fan identification and social identity theory by examining the effects of unscrupulous off-field behaviors of athletes. In doing so, we drew from both social identity theory and Heider’s balance theory to hypothesize a significant interaction between fan identification level and leadership response on fans’ subsequent levels of identification. An experimental study was performed and a 2 (high, low identification) × 2 (weak, strong leadership response) ANOVA was conducted with the pre to post difference score in team identification as the dependent variable. There was a significant interaction effect (F (2, 80) = 23.71, p < .001) which explained 23% of the variance in the difference between prepost test scores. The results provide evidence that unscrupulous acts by athletes off the field of play can impact levels of team identification, particularly for highly identified fans exposed to a weak leadership response. The results are discussed relative to appropriate theory. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are also forwarded.

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Elizabeth A. Baiocchi-Wagner and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz

Attempts at investigating female sports reporters’ credibility and persuasiveness from the audience’s perspective are limited and outdated. This study, grounded in social identity theory, fills the gap in media literature. A quasi-experiment tested respondents’ perceptions of male and female sports reporters’ credibility and persuasiveness as a function of salient gender identity and reporter and athlete sex. Respondents’ sports fandom, frequency of sports-media usage, and general perceptions of news-media credibility also were examined. Results of a MANOVA indicated no significant differences in respondents’ perceptions of a male and female reporter, even when controlling for respondent gender; however, sports fandom and general perceptions of news-media credibility did have a significant impact on perceptions.

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Brent D. Oja, Henry T. Wear and Aaron W. Clopton

capital interacts with one’s social identity to impact psychic income generation. Social Identity Theory Social identity theory is a broad-based concept that has been used in various disciplines in an effort to describe and explain the entities individuals associate themselves with, and how these entities

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Yuhei Inoue, Mikihiro Sato, Kevin Filo, James Du and Daniel C. Funk

account the multifaceted nature of subjective well-being ( Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985 ). Regarding the psychological pathway, the relationship between team identification (i.e., social identification with a sport team) and subjective well-being can be predicted based on social identity theory

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Tanya McGuane, Stephen Shannon, Lee-Ann Sharp, Martin Dempster and Gavin Breslin

to study how athletes’ identity formation, and hence group behavior, is influenced by social processes is social-identity theory (SIT; Tajfel, 1982 ). SIT assesses the formation of identity, based on membership in a social in-group. When individuals perceive personal value in subscribing to in

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Bastian Popp, Chris Horbel and Claas Christian Germelmann

context of team sport—more specifically in European football. (We use the term football throughout this paper when referring to soccer.) Adopting a social-identity-theory approach ( Tajfel & Turner, 1979 ), this research aimed to study how antisponsor communities influence football fans and their self

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Matthew Katz and Bob Heere

The authors examined the longitudinal development of team identification among stakeholders of a newly formed intercollegiate football team to empirically measure the impact of a new football team on university identification. Using a multidimensional approach to identification, data were collected over a 3-year period and analyzed using growth curve analysis to determine the changes and trajectories of the individual dimensions of identification related to both the new football team and the larger university. Conditional growth models were used to determine the percentage of change in university identification explained by changes in team identification—to test whether new team identification drives identification with the larger university. The presented findings allow for an improved understanding of the psychological impact of a new football team for the university community by using growth curve analysis, which provides a more detailed and accurate empirical examination of identification, rather than traditional two-wave cross-lagged designs. Implications of the longitudinal nature of identification and the psychological value of a new football team for the university are discussed.

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Natalie A. Brown, Michael B. Devlin and Andrew C. Billings

This study explores the implications of the sports communication theory of fan identification and the divisions often developed between identifying with a single athlete and the bonds developed for a sport as a whole. Using the fastest growing North American sport, mixed martial arts (MMA)—more specifically, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)—differences in levels of fan identification were examined in relationship to attitudes toward individual athletes and attitudes toward the UFC organization. An online survey of 911 respondents produced a highly representative sample of the UFC’s current audience demographics. Results showed significant differences in fan identify between gender, age, and sensationseeking behaviors, suggesting that distinct demographic variables may influence the role that fan identity has not only in sports media consumption but also in future event consumption. Implications and ramifications for future theoretical sports communication research and sports marketing are postulated.

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Joe J. Phua

Research on sports fans has demonstrated a positive relationship between fan identification and self-esteem. The current investigation extended previous research by testing media use as a moderator. The author hypothesized that media use would be positively associated with measures of fan identification and collective self-esteem and also moderate the relationship between these 2 variables. This is because media use enhances positive distinctiveness for fans of sports teams, leading to higher collective self-esteem levels because of the ability to get up-to-date information about the team or player they support. Data gathered from student fans (N = 203) of a major U.S. west coast university football team confirmed the author’s expectations that sports fans’ use of 4 types of media—print, broadcast, online, and mobile phones—moderated the relationship between fan identification and collective self-esteem, with online media having the greatest impact on this relationship.

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Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder

). Group identity can be interpreted in line with social-identity theory ( Tajfel, 1982 ). In particular, identity formation in combination with the struggle for scarce goods (i.e., win or lose, cf. Blalock’s realistic conflict theory, 1967 ; cf. LeVine & Campbell, 1972 ), creates an ingroup