Write & Earn
Favorites Edit

Team sport fandom can promote mental health and well-being

Team sport brings individuals together for a common cause Social connections help team building Everybody knows that sports enhance physical healt ...

01 Mar 2015, 10:48 IST
Team sport brings individuals together for a common cause

Social connections help team building

Everybody knows that sports enhance physical health and fitness, generally, for those who undergo regular practice. Recent findings indicate the importance of sports in enhancing mental health too, not just for the sports persons, but also for those who are always passively involved in any sport event...the fans! According to a model proposed by Daniel L. Wann, in 2006, when fans psychologically commit themselves to a team and the performance of the team, it has a great personal level of relevance, which is called “Sport Team Identification”.

Based on the Team Identification Social Psychological Health Model developed by Wann, numerous researches are being conducted in order to find out that a positive relationship exists between sport team identification and the social and psychological well-being among the fans. As per the findings by Zillmann, Bryant and Sapolsky (1989), people watch sports in order to feel pleasure and get away to escape from boredom and tension, and thereby to elicit a sense of happiness, a closely related factor of well being.

Well-being in sports fans is also developed because of the social connections they make with others, who have identified with the same team. Social connections will help fans develop strong bases of identity in themselves, according to a study conducted by Porat in the year 2010. When sport fans form associations, it is either due to the need to feel belonged to a group or to be distinguished from other individuals, proved a study by Sarah L. Absten (2011). Higher the levels of team identification, stronger will be the emotional responses to the performance of the team. Feeling of sharing the emotional responses with a group, which has like thoughts, enhances the feeling of social support in the individual.

Fans are bouyed by team’s performance

Perceived social support has a strong positive relationship with mental health and well being. Fans, initially being attracted towards a team, gradually form strong allegiances with it. This, then, progressively, will affect the general mood, and functionality. When their team performs poorly, fans tend to display more brooding, let-down, and negative behaviors; sometimes even a complete lack of interest in their daily activities.

On the other hand, when the team puts up a satisfactory performance, it directly influences in elating the fans’ mood. Therefore, the greater the level of team identification, the greater will a fan be affected by its performance, say Funk & James, in their research conducted in the year 2001. Melancholia generated out of failures of the team has the effect of catharsis. Consequently, the thoughts of the fans will give way to the hope for another scheduled event, when their team will be anticipated to achieve success. To conclude, playing a sport has positive physical and psychological benefits, fandom and involvement with sports have great psychological and social significances. Being involved with a sport, allows fans to form great social interactions and associations with other individuals.

These relationships help in developing positivity, trust and belief in other individuals, and also help them in sharing a feeling of belongingness. Fandom also enhances happiness, acts as a medium to release pent-up tensions and achieve a sense of pleasure. Involvement with a sports team also acts as a strong foundation based on which individuals form identities for themselves.

Fetching more content...