What is the identity of a sports spectator?

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats


Citation Stats


Despite the prominence of sports in contemporary society, little is known about the identity and personality traits of sports spectators. With a sample of 293 individuals, we examine four broad categories of factors that may explain variability in the reported amount of time spent watching sports. Using individual difference regression techniques, we explore the relationship between sports spectating and physiological measures (e.g., testosterone and cortisol), clinical self-report scales (ADHD and autism), personality traits (e.g., NEO "Big Five"), and pastime activities (e.g., video game playing). Our results indicate that individuals who report higher levels of sports spectating tend to have higher levels of extraversion, and in particular excitement seeking and gregariousness. These individuals also engage more in complementary pastime activities, including participating in sports and exercise activities, watching TV/movies, and playing video games. Notably, no differences were observed in the clinical self-report scales, indicating no differences in reported symptoms of ADHD or autism for spectators and non-spectators. Likewise, no relationship was seen between baseline concentrations of testosterone or cortisol and sports spectating in our sample. These results provide an assessment of the descriptive personality dimensions of frequent sports spectators and provide a basic taxonomy of how these traits are expressed across the population. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.






Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Gregory Appelbaum, L, MS Cain, EF Darling, SJ Stanton, MT Nguyen and SR Mitroff (2012). What is the identity of a sports spectator?. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(3). pp. 422–427. 10.1016/j.paid.2011.10.048 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13529.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.