Virginie Bagneux *, Iouri Bernache-Assollant ** and Raphaël Laurin ***
(*) Department of Psychology, UNICAEN, LPCN (EA 7452), Normandie University, Caen, France
(**) Department, HAVAE Laboratory (EA 6310), University of Limoges, Limoges, France
(***) Department, Psy-DREPI Laboratory (EA 7458), University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Dijon, France
Bagneux, V., Bernache-Assollant, I., Laurin, R. (2022). The impacts of legitimacy appraisal of defeat on supporters’ identity management strategies: Testing the role of emotions. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 53(4), 355-377. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2022.53.355
Emotion is a central feature of many competitive sports. In this regard, re- search revealed that defeats have powerful impacts on athletes who can feel deep- ly distressed or annoyed. Comparatively, relatively few studies have directly ad- dressed the emotional experience of supporters associated with losing teams. This is surprising when taking into account the negative consequences of emotions on intergroup relations (i.e., fans riots). To fill this gap, it is crucial to identify to whom these emotions are addressed. In this study, we proposed that the ob- ject of specific emotions would trigger the use of specific identity management strategies depending on the legitimacy appraisal of the defeat. To test this medi- ational process, supporters of the French national rugby team were asked to read sport news articles (fictional) where the (il)legitimacy of defeats outcomes had been manipulated. The results generally supported our predictions: Anger and respect, when exclusively directed at outgroup, mediated the link between legiti- macy and antisocial tendencies. Conversely, pride when exclusively directed at in- group mediated the link between legitimacy and status display tendencies. Shame did not predict any strategy. We discussed the importance of the athletes as role models to regulate supporters’ emotions and their impact on intergroup relations.
Keywords: Object of emotion, Identity threat, Legitimacy appraisal, sport fan- dom, identity management strategies