On passion and sports fans: A look at football

R Vallerand, Nikolaos Ntoumanis, F Philippe, G Lavigne, N Carbonneau, A Bonneville, C Lagace-Labonte, G Maliha

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The purpose of the present research was to test the applicability of the Dualistic Model of Passion (Vallerand et al., 2003) to being a sport (football) fan. The model posits that passion is a strong inclination toward an activity that individuals like (or even love), that they value, and in which they invest time and energy. Furthermore, two types of passion are proposed: harmonious and obsessive passion. While obsessive passion entails an uncontrollable urge to engage in the passionate activity, harmonious passion entails a sense of volition while engaging in the activity. Finally, the model posits that harmonious passion leads to more adaptive outcomes than obsessive passion. Three studies provided support for this dualistic conceptualization of passion. Study 1 showed that harmonious passion was positively associated with adaptive behaviours (e.g., celebrate the team’s victory), while obsessive passion was rather positively associated with maladaptive behaviours (e.g., to risk losing one’s employment to go to the team’s game). Study 2 used a short Passion Scale and showed that harmonious passion was positively related to the positive affective life of fans during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, psychological health (self-esteem and life satisfaction), and public displays of adaptive behaviours (e.g., celebrating one’s team victory in the streets), while obsessive passion was predictive of maladaptive affective life (e.g., hating opposing team’s fans) and behaviours (e.g., mocking the opposing team’s fans). Finally, Study 3 examined the role of obsessive passion as a predictor of partner’s conflict that in turn undermined partner’s relationship satisfaction. Overall, the present results provided support for the Dualistic Model of Passion. The conceptual and applied implications of the findings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1293
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number12
Early online date1 Oct 2008
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • sport fan
  • positive psychology
  • self-determination
  • Passion


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