A conceptual framework for collective emotions in sport


In spite of preliminary evidence of mood linkage among athletes of sport teams over the course of a competition as well as relations to subsequent performance (Totterdell, 2000), research on collective emotions in sport has received scant attention in recent years. The purpose of this presentation is to advance a preliminary conceptual framework for collective emotions in sport with the intention to structure and stimulate future research. To this end, we follow recommendations by Rocco and Plakhotnik (2009) and turn to relevant work in general psychology, sociology, and philosophy. Drawing on this work, we define collective emotions and present five potential causal pathways, ranging from the individual- to a society-level, namely Identification, Contagion, Conformity, Shared Stimuli, and Socialization. We suggest that each of these pathways is distinct in terms of its underlying conceptual basis, mechanisms (mediators), facilitators, operant levels, duration, and the involvement of others. We propose, however, that most pathways are moderated by athletes' ability and motivation to perceive and process relevant social cues. Based on this framework, we classify previous work, predict the salience of different pathways across situations, and provide methodological strategies to advance the further empirical investigation of collective emotions in sport. Rocco, T. S., & Plakhotnik, M. S. (2009). Literature reviews, conceptual frameworks, and theoretical frameworks: Terms, functions, and distinctions. Human Resource Development Review, 8, 120–130. Totterdell, P. (2000). Catching moods and hitting runs: Mood linkage and subjective performance in professional sport teams. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 848–859.