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Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0189-4785

AccessType

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Management

Year Degree Awarded

2021

Month Degree Awarded

February

First Advisor

Matthew Katz

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Health Psychology | Marketing | Psychology | Social Psychology | Sociology | Sports Management | Sports Studies

Abstract

Simultaneous to the sport industry’s ascent, obesity has become an issue of growing societal concern. Scholars have explored the role of social-psychological identification in both fandom and physical health, but have not yet explored the intersection of the two. Throughout life, individuals must negotiate all of their identities, including their attachment to sport teams, yet understanding of role identity within sport management is limited. Likewise, scholars have noted the need for greater illumination of the relationship between fandom and physical well-being.

I address these gaps through three studies. In Study One, I completed semi-structured interviews with individuals who consider both role identities central to their self-concept. Some interviewees suggested the two identities compete for salience, yet others explained that they view the roles as mutually supportive pieces of self. In Study Two, I examined experiences of relevant ‘identity work’ through autoethnography. I found that I often struggled to balance and integrate my fan identity and health-consciousness, but other central identities and social contexts played lynchpin roles in my experiences. Finally, in Study Three, I surveyed health-conscious sport fans to understand their experiences through a more generalizable lens. I found fandom is correlated with positive physical health outcomes, yet health-conscious sport fans perceive identity conflict while consuming sport.

In sum, the findings of this dissertation indicate health-conscious sport fans often perceive conflict between these two identities, sensing they are not harmonious – yet this experience is nuanced and contextual, hinging on both individual (i.e., psychological) characteristics and social (i.e., sociological) forces. Directions for sport scholars and the industry are unpacked.

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