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Athletic Identity and Aggressiveness: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Athletic Identity Maintenance Model

Research independently examining athletic identity and sport aggression is quite extensive; however, the relationship between these variables has yet to be explored. Findings from both the identity literature and the sport fandom literature regarding team identification and aggressive fan behavior provides a foundation on which to hypothesize about the potential role athletic identity may have in the expression of athlete aggression (i.e., Athletic Identity Maintenance Model). Therefore, the purpose of the study was to examine the relationships among athletic identity, anger, and aggressiveness in competitive athletes and to assess cross-cultural differences. Male athletes (N = 569) participating in contact and collision sports in the United States (n = 362) and Hong Kong (n = 207) completed measures of athletic identity, anger, and aggressiveness. Results indicated positive relationships among athletic identity, anger, and aggressiveness with differences in those variables found with respect to sport type and culture. Group comparisons yielded significant differences between lowly and highly identified athletes in both anger and aggressiveness