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Beliefs in symbolic catharsis: The importance of involvement with aggressive sports

Daniel L. Wann (Murray State University), Jeffrey D. Carlson (Murray State University), Lisa C. Holland (Murray State University), Bryan E. Jacob (Murray State University), Dale A. Owens (Murray State University), D. Dayne Wells (Murray State University)
Cite this article:  Wann, D., Carlson, J., Holland, L., Jacob, B., Owens, D., & Dayne Wells, D. (1999). Beliefs in symbolic catharsis: The importance of involvement with aggressive sports. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 27, 155-164.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1999.27.2.155
Publication date: April 1999

Abstract


Although previous investigations have consistently refuted the notion of catharsis, researchers indicate that a substantial proportion of the general population continues to believe that aggression can lead to a lowering of subsequent aggression. In this study we examine the relationships among involvement in aggressive and nonaggressive sports and beliefs in symbolic sport catharsis (i.e., the belief that watching aggressive sports will lead to a reduction in aggression). The results supported the hypothesized pattern of effects as persons with a high level of involvement with aggressive sports were particularly likely to believe that watching aggressive sports on television and in person can lead to a reduction in aggressive behavior. Also consistent with expectations, differences in beliefs in symbolic sport catharsis were not found between groups differing in their involvement with nonaggressive sports.



Full Text: PDF  pp. 155-164