Identification with sport teams as a function of the search for certainty

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Based on ideas from subjective uncertainty reduction theory, we examined the extent to which individuals hold similar sport team preferences to their family and friends. We also assessed the extent to which perceived sport importance and personal need for structure are influential in the development of team identification. Australian high school students aged 15.5 +/- 1.0 years (mean +/- s) completed questionnaires containing the Personal Need for Structure Scale, the Relational-Interdependent Self-Construal scale, a Team Identification Scale, and items assessing perceptions of sport importance and team preferences. As expected, correlations indicated that preferences for sport teams were significantly related to the preferences of family and friends. Separate analyses of variance confirmed the remaining hypotheses. More specifically, individuals who perceived that sport was important identified with the team more than individuals who perceived sport to be less important. Also, individuals high in personal need for structure scored higher in cognitive/affective team identification than those low in this need. Individuals with differing needs for structure did not differ in their scores on other dimensions of team identification. The results support the notion that cognitive/emotional attachments to sport teams are influenced by perceptions of the importance of sport and by needs for subjective structure. It is possible that other psychological motives, such as the desire for self-esteem, facilitate the development of evaluative dimensions of team identification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1203-1211
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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