The Psychological Benefits of Superstitious Rituals in Top Sport

34 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2005

See all articles by Michaéla Schippers

Michaéla Schippers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management

Paul A. M. van Lange

Free University of Amsterdam

Date Written: November 29, 2005

Abstract

The current research addresses the psychological benefits of superstitious rituals in top sport, examining the circumstances under which top-class sportsmen are especially committed to enacting rituals prior to a game (ritual commitment). Consistent with hypotheses, findings revealed that ritual commitment is greater when (a) uncertainty is high rather than low, and (b) the importance of the game is high rather than low. Complementary analyses revealed that the state of psychological tension mediated both the effect of importance and uncertainty on ritual commitment. Moreover, players with an external locus of control exhibited greater levels of ritual commitment than players with an internal locus of control. The results are discussed in terms of the tension-regulation function of superstitious rituals in top sport.

Keywords: Locus of Control, Psychological Tension, Ritual Commitment, Superstition, Top Sport

Suggested Citation

Schippers, Michaela and van Lange, Paul A. M., The Psychological Benefits of Superstitious Rituals in Top Sport (November 29, 2005). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2005-071-ORG. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=861417

Michaela Schippers (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Technology and Operations Management ( email )

RSM Erasmus University
PO Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Paul A. M. Van Lange

Free University of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, ND North Holland
Netherlands

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