Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Frederick Grieve (Director), Dr. Pitt Derryberry, Dr. Jacqueline Pope-Tarrence

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The current study was conducted to examine whether priming for a need for assimilation or the need for differentiation influences an individual’s identification with a particular team. Team Identification is defined as “the level of psychological attachment felt by a sports fan toward his or her favorite team” (Kim & Kim, 2009; Wann, Melnick, Russell, & Pease, 2001). Participants for the current study included 80 undergraduate psychology students, recruited through Study Board at Western Kentucky University. Participants completed the Sport Fandom Questionnaire (SFQ) and were randomly assigned one of two scenarios where they were asked to transcribe two memories based upon their scenario. Then participants filled out the Need for Affiliation Scale (nAff) to assess whether the scenarios elicited a need for affiliation. Following the nAff, participants filled out the Fan Scale (FS) for both teams based on which team they were going to cheer for to win a fictional football game. The participants finished by filling out two Sport Spectator Identification Scales (SSIS), one for the underdog football team and one for the favored football team, to measure how identified they were with each team. Results indicated that the hypotheses were not supported. There were no significant differences between condition for the Fan Scale or the Sport Spectator Identification Scale. However, it was found that, regardless of condition, participants were more likely to cheer for the underdog football team than they were the favored football team. There were no significant differences between the need for affiliation and the need for differentiation and their influences on team identification. The finding that participants were more likely to cheer for the underdog football team than they were the favored team has added another stepping stone for examining motives for team identification.


Psychology | Social Psychology