Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

Bradley Rosenfield, PsyD

Second Advisor

David Festinger, PhD

Third Advisor

Richard Selznick, PhD


Increasingly, people report that leisure activity gives their lives meaning and significantly contributes to the formation of their personal identities. In fact, many individuals rank leisure activities as essential as work, family, and religion. (Gillespie, Leffler, & Lerner, 2010; Stebbins, 1992). Recent research has demonstrated that leisure involvement provides psychological benefits that contribute to wellbeing for both men and women (Caltabiano, 1995; Kim, Heo, Lee, & Kim, 2015). National Football League (NFL) fandom in the U.S. has been identified as a leisure activity that supersedes traditional gender norms and provides opportunities for family and group involvement. Although fandom has been examined as a social phenomenon, the literature regarding emotional and cognitive consequences of fan experience is sparse. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relative influence of levels of leisure involvement, emotional expressivity, and cognitive distortions in male and female NFL fans when exposed to high-stakes, game-related stimuli. NFL fans were measured on variables of leisure involvement, emotional expression and cognitive distortions, using the Serious Leisure Inventory Measure (Gould, Moore, McGuire, & Stebbins, 2008), the Berkeley Expressivity Questionnaire Gross & John, 1995) and the Inventory of Cognitive Distortions (Yurica, 2001), following exposure to an emotional NFL fandom stimulus, after being randomly assigned to either a win or a loss condition. Results revealed that women demonstrated higher emotional expressivity (positive, negative, impulse strength, and overall) and more cognitive distortions. Being female and having higher levels of fan involvement were predictive of cognitive distortions. Finally, men and women did not differ in levels of fandom involvement.

Included in

Psychology Commons