The Verbal Aggression of Spectators at Youth Baseball Games: Investigating the Impact of Competition Level, Team Identification, and Fan Dysfunction

  • Daniel L. Wann Murray State University
  • Michelle R. Sherman
Keywords: youth sports, team identification, verbal aggression


Previous research had found that level of team identification was positively associated with aggression at youth sporting events (Wann, Weaver, Belva, Ladd, & Armstrong, 2015).  The current investigation was designed to extend this work by incorporating fan dysfunction into the model (i.e., fans who are confrontational and frequently complain).  Spectators at either a recreational or select (i.e., travel) youth baseball game completed a survey packet assessing demographics, team identification with their favorite Major League Baseball team, identification with the youth team, fan dysfunction, and hostile and instrumental verbal aggression directed toward officials and opponents.  Results indicated that, contrary to expectations, team identification was not a unique predictor of verbal aggression.  Rather, fan dysfunction predicted each form of aggression, aggression toward both targets, and total aggression. 

Author Biography

Daniel L. Wann, Murray State University
Professor of Psychology


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