Terror management and the vicissitudes of sports fan affiliation: The effects of mortality salience on optimism and fan identification

Mark Dechesne, Jeff L Greenberg, Jamie Arndt, Jeff Schimel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present research examined the hypothesis derived from terror management theory that identifications with sports teams shield against the potential consequences of awareness of death. Experiment 1 demonstrated that Dutch participants who were reminded of their death expressed greater optimism about the results of the national soccer team compared to a control condition. Experiment 2 conceptually replicated this finding with American participants and college sports teams. In addition, Experiment 2 tested the hypothesis that success of a team is a prerequisite for sports fan affiliation to function as a buffer against death concerns. Before the college football season began, participants who were reminded about death expressed greater relative preference for a more salient, but less successful college football team over a national college champion basketball team compared to control participants. However, after the football team lost its first game of the season, participants who were reminded about death indicated greater relative preference for the successful basketball team. Results are discussed with regard to the psychological function of social identifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)813-835
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume30
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2000

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Sports
Football
Mortality
Basketball
Social Identification
Soccer
Buffers
Optimism
Psychology
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Terror management and the vicissitudes of sports fan affiliation : The effects of mortality salience on optimism and fan identification. / Dechesne, Mark; Greenberg, Jeff L; Arndt, Jamie; Schimel, Jeff.

In: European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 30, No. 6, 11.2000, p. 813-835.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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