Sensation seeking, gender and programme preferences in televised sport

  • Desiré Coetzee
  • Janita Van Wyk
  • Barend JM Steyn


Sport has emerged as one of the major media events of our time of such magnitude that it is no more possible to distinguish between the phenomena of television and sport. The purpose of this study is to determine the relations between sensation seeking, gender and preferences in viewing televised sport. The reason being that the sensation seeking theories can offer media researchers a valuable approach to understanding why and how people use television to create their own excitement and entertainment. The survey methodology was used in this study. The questionnaire included the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS), which is a standardised psychological test, as well as a questionnaire that categorises a variety of sport in three major groups. Group A consists of violent combative sport, group B of aggressive combative sport and group C consists of non-aggressive stylistic sport. Ninety two (N=92) respondents were randomly selected to complete the Sensation Seeking Scale and to indicate their preferred sport programmes in terms of the three groups that range from extreme combative aggressive to more stylistic and artistic sport programmes. Results in this study indicated a direct relation between high sensation seeking and viewing violent combative sport (Group A). Low sensation seeking viewers also tend to view more stylistic sport on television (Group C). The hypothesis on gender differences was also supported. The male population is more attracted to violent combative sport, while the female population prefers to view more stylistic and artistic sport on television.

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol. 28(2) 2006: 15-25

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069