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Football Fan Rage: Increase in Domestic Violence After Loss


Football may be just as dangerous for women as it is for men. According to a new report, domestic violence rises 10 percent in the home towns of NFL teams after a loss. This revelation raises the question of how unexpected disappointment can affect the behavior of men towards their female partners.

Police Calls Increase After Unexpected Defeat

The National Institute of Health conducted a research study analyzing the amount of local police calls reporting domestic violence after an unexpected NFL loss. The researchers obtained data from 900 regular season games. They found that if the team was expected to win, but lost, the number of calls to the police reporting male assaults on domestic partners increased an average of 10 percent. The rise in police reports was double if the NFL game was between traditional rivals (20 percent) than if the game was between non-rivals (8 percent). The time period that appears to be the highest risk for violent behavior is within the final hour of the game or two hours thereafter.

"Our results suggest that the overall rise in violence between the intimate partners we studied is driven entirely by losses in games that matter most to fans," said David Card, Ph.D., one of the co-authors on the study.

The researches found no increase in domestic violence when the team was expected to loose or be close in score. There was also no indication of a decrease in violence if there was an unexpected win.

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This is not the first study, however, to examine the increase in domestic violence and football. There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not abuse increases on Superbowl Sunday. One research study showed that this was true. However, this same trend is noted on every major holiday including July 4th and Thanksgiving.

Unexpected Disappointments and Violence

This study illustrates the possibility that unexpected disappointment could be one contributing factor to violent tendencies in men. However, this connection is not limited to sporting events. "Someone who gets a speeding ticket on the way home, for example, might also be more likely to act out in a way he would later regret." remarked Card. Therefore targeting programs to help men deal with sudden shifts in emotion may help prevent abuse towards female partners.

The reality is that domestic violence is a reality in our country each and every day. Nearly 6 million women each year are abused by a male partner and over lifetime it is expected that 1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse you call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1-800-799-7233

Reource: Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Advance Access, 21 March 2011.
Image Source: Wikicommons