ZeePedia

AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence

<< AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility >>
img
Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
Lesson 34
AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT
The Catharsis Effect
The catharsis effect represents a release of pent-up frustration that makes one feel better. It is a purging of
the anger and frustration associated with not being able to accomplish a goal. Venting frustration upon a
punching bag or some other inanimate object may serve as a useful catharsis. Venting frustration upon
another human being, however, is unacceptable behavior that is likely to lead to more aggression.
Aggression is not cathartic in the sense that it leads to a reduction in the desire to aggress. Aggression leads
to an increase in aggression as tempers flare and as the behavior becomes learned.
Measurement of Aggression
A number of inventories have been developed to measure aggressiveness as a personality disposition or
trait. Two of these inventories are the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992) and the Aggression
Inventory (Gladue, 1991). Sport- specific inventories include the Athletic Aggression Inventory
(Bredemeier, 1978) and the Continuum of Injurious Acts (Bredemeier, 1985). The actual measurement of
aggression, however, is much more difficult. Because aggression is defined as the intent to harm another
human being, the measurement device must be able to capture this intent.
Fan Violence
Some of the worst examples of sports aggression and violence occur among the fans watching an athletic
contest. Every sports event is attended by individuals who may instigate fan violence. These are individuals
who score high in the personality disposition of anger and physical aggression. These individuals are
attracted to violence and fighting among fans, and exhibit a false belief about the willingness of other fans
to join in acts of violence.
Effects of Aggression On Performance
Conventional wisdom argues that acts of aggression on the part of an athlete will constitute a distraction
and result in a decrement in performance. Not only are aggressive acts on the part of an individual
distracting to the individual, but they are likely to be distracting to the team as a whole. Research shows, for
example, that the lower a team is in the standings, the more likely it will be to engage in aggression.
Situational Factors in a Sport Setting
Factors associated with the occurrence of aggression in sport-specific situations are as follows:
a. Environmental temperature
Archival data suggest that higher temperatures lead major league pitchers to become more aggressive in
pitching to batters.
b. Perception of victim's intent
If athletes perceive that an opponent's intent is to inflict harm, they are more likely to respond with
aggression against the opponent. This means that perception of an opponent's aggressive intentions may be
more salient than such things as defeat and competition.
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
101
img
Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
c. Fear of retaliation
To some degree, the fear of retaliation on the part of the individual who is the target of aggression can
inhabit another player from initiating that aggression. A basketball player is a little less likely to elbow her
opponent in the ribs if she fears similar treatment from the opponent.
d. Structure of the game
Studies have shown that more aggressive penalties occur as the game score differential increases. When
teams are tied or the scores are close, aggression is at a minimum. Research has also shown that the lower
the team is in standings, the more its members engage in aggression.
e. Rivalry, familiarity, and frequency of play.
As players become more familiar with one another due to frequency of play, and as the rivalries become
more intense due to geographical location, aggression becomes more frequent.
f.
Goal orientation
A respect for rules and officials declines as the ego orientation of the athlete increase. Conversely, high task
goal orientation is associated with higher level of sportspersonship.
Reducing Aggression in Sport
Aggression in sport can be curtailed, or at least minimized, if all concerned are interested in doing so. The
sad part is that some of the most influential people actually promote rather than discourage violence
because they believe it sells tickets.
Research shows that angry feelings and angry behavior, the precursor to hostile aggression can be modified
through anger awareness training and role playing. Athletes can learn to control their feelings of hostility
anger. Role playing is particularly effective in reducing an athlete's anger feelings and behavior.
Curtailing Aggression and Violence by Athletes
a.  Young athletes must be provided with models of nonaggressive but effective assertive behavior.
b. Athletes who engage in aggressive acts must be severely penalized.
c.  The penalty or punishment that an athlete receives for an act of aggression must be of greater punitive value
than the potential reinforcement received for committing the act.
d. In addition to receiving punishment for acts of aggression, athletes should receive rewards and praise for
showing restraint and patience in emotionally charged situations.
Curtailing Aggression and Violence by Fans
a.
Potential troublemakers should be closely supervised. Fans with a history of violence and fighting should be
identified and denied admission.
b. The sale, distribution, and use of alcoholic beverages at sporting event should be limited and controlled.
c.  Athletic events should be promoted and encouraged as family affairs.
d. The media can promote responsible behavior on the part of the fans by not glamorizing acts of aggression.
e.  As with athletes and coaches, fan aggression must be swiftly and severely punished.
References
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York:
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
102
img
Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
McGraw-Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes. New
York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
© Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan
103
Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  6. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS IN COMPETITIVE SITUATIONS:Locus of Causality
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  8. FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE, Goal Setting in Sport
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  17. SITUATIONAL FACTORS RELATED TO ANXIETY AND MOOD:Type of Sport
  18. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:Emotion and Mood
  19. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:The Inverted-U Theory
  20. ALTERNATIVES TO INVERTED-U THEORY:Apterís Reversal Theory
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants