Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sports machismo may be cue to male teen violence

The sports culture surrounding football and wrestling may be fueling aggressive and violent behavior not only among teen male players but also among their male friends and peers on and off the field, according to a Penn State study.

"Sports such as football, basketball, and baseball provide players with a certain status in society," said Derek Kreager, assistant professor of sociology in the Crime, Law, and Justice program. "But football and wrestling are associated with violent behavior because both sports involve some physical domination of the opponent, which is rewarded by the fans, coaches and other players."

Using a national database of 6397 male students from across 120 schools, Kreager analyzed the effects of team sports – football, basketball, and baseball – and individual sports – wrestling and tennis – on male interpersonal violence. The study looked at factors such as self-esteem, reports of prior fights, and popularity of the various sports.

The researcher found that, compared with non-athletes, football players and wrestlers face higher risks of getting into a serious fight by over 40 per cent. High-contact sports that are associated with aggression and masculinity increase the risk of violence, he concluded.

"Players are encouraged to be violent outside the sport because they are rewarded for being violent inside it," Kreager said.

However, the violent behavior is not restricted to players alone. The Penn State researcher also found that the risk of getting involved in fights increases with the proportion of friends who play football.

"Males with all-football friends are expected to have a 45 per cent probability of getting into a serious fight, more than 8 percentage points higher than similar individuals with no football friends and almost 20 percentage points higher than males with all-tennis friends," Kreager said in a recent issue of the journal American Sociological Review.

As for individual sports, wrestlers are 45 percent more likely to get into a fight than non-wrestlers, while tennis players are 35 per cent less likely to be involved in fights. The team sports, basketball and baseball, on the other hand, do not lead to fights.

The findings run contrary to a belief that participation in sports discourages anti-social behavior among boys because of the emphasis on teamwork, discipline and practice, and good sportsmanship and fair play.

"My results suggest that high-contact sports fail to protect males from interpersonal violence," Kreager said. "Players might be getting cues from parents, peers, coaches, and the local community, who support violence as a way of attaining 'battlefield' victories, becoming more popular, and asserting 'warrior' identities."

Pressure on teams to win games may be contributing to the problem, because it makes coaches want to build a stronger team by selecting aggressive players and encouraging a 'win at all costs' attitude both on and off the field.

A compromise solution, Kreager adds, is to break the cycle of aggression.

"There is definitely a gate-keeping role for the coach," he explained. "You would want to not select those kids you are already aware are uncontrollably aggressive, because they are going to be a problem for others in the team. And that is also going to encourage other kids who are hanging out with them to be violent."

The same also goes for players who start becoming more violent, Kreager added. "You want to sanction them somehow and make sure they are not rewarded, else other kids might get a wrong message and that might perpetuate the violence off the field."

Amitabh Avasthi | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>