African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Illogical it may seem: Do team attachment, match outcomes and superior performance of opposing teams shape superstitious behaviours among sport fans?

M Dhurup


Sport fans acknowledge that through centuries there is the belief and interplay that superstition will add that extra touch of luck to game outcomes. Superstitions play an integral part in the psyche of sport fans in modern sports. The study examines whether team attachment, match outcomes and superior performance of opposing teams influence superstitious behaviours among team sport fans. In addition, the study sought to determine gender differences in the engagement of superstitious behaviours. The study is located within a quantitative research paradigm. Data were collected from 162 undergraduate and post graduate students from the Vaal University of Technology using an adapted superstitious questionnaire. Results indicate that superstitious behaviours seem to have no boundaries as male and female fans equally engage in superstitious behaviours. The correlations analyses suggest that there is a concurrence between team attachment and superstitious behaviours especially when playing against a superior opposition team. The regression results reveal that match outcomes, superior performance of opposing teams and team attachment augment fans propensity to engage in superstitious behaviours. The study lends credence to fans likelihood to engage in superstitious conventions, albeit illogical, in instances of high task difficulty and uncertainty and, when the outcome is of importance and difficult to predict.

Keywords: Superstitious behaviour, team sport, team attachment, match outcome, fans, uncertainty.

AJOL African Journals Online