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Psychological processes connecting team identification and social well-being for middle-aged and older adults : moderated mediation of subjective and objective on-field performance

Inoue, Yuhei ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1983-6217, Lock, Daniel, Sato, Mikihiro and Funk, Daniel C (2022) Psychological processes connecting team identification and social well-being for middle-aged and older adults : moderated mediation of subjective and objective on-field performance. Sport Management Review, 25 (2). pp. 207-233. ISSN 1441-3523

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Abstract

To cultivate the potential of sport spectatorship to enhance social well-being, a greater understanding of underlying psychological processes is essential. Using the social identity approach as a theoretical framework, we investigate how identification with a sport team interacts with subjective and objective measures of on-field team performance to affect social well-being. Data from 790 U.S. middle-aged and older adults were analysed through a path model combining mediation and moderation. The results indicate that the relationship between team identification and social life satisfaction—a measure of social well-being—is fully mediated by subjective perceptions of a favourite team’s on-field performance. In addition, this mediating effect increases as objective on-field performance decreases. These findings reveal that team identification drives spectators to subjectively judge their favourite team’s performance, which serves as a coping strategy to enhance their social well-being when the team is performing poorly. Our evidence implies that sport organisations with middling to poor performance records may leverage social and community events to promote consumer social well-being.

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