Psychological Issues in Sports Aggression

Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


Sports offer an especially attractive research setting for those interested in increasing the generalizability of laboratory findings as well as the testing of predictions derived from various theories of human behavior. Two features with particular implications for aggression research are worth noting. In combative and some contact sports the aspiring athlete is taught basic skills in interpersonal aggression and lavishly rewarded when they are effectively applied in competition. In these sports interpersonal aggression is met with enthusiastic approval within the sport and a general tolerance on the part of society. Consequently, the arousal of such states as guilt, anxiety, and evaluation apprehension in laboratory subjects required to aggress against one another may not occur to the same degree in sports, providing the investigator with a somewhat unique set of research parameters. Few, if any comparable situations exist outside of wartime. Moreover, aggression research stands to profit from an additional set of behavioral measures. This important gain in triangulation may be achieved through the use of indices of “illegal” behavior, a class of aggression involving acts which violate the rules of a sport and which also satisfy conventional definitions of aggression. As noted elsewhere (Russell, 1981a), the researcher may find other important advantages and reasons to study aggression in the naturalistic context of sports.


Football Player Verbal Aggression Psychological Issue Archival Study Media Violence 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

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