Publication Date

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Theodore M. Butryn


identity theory, kinesiology, positive psychology, sports management, sports psychology, well-being theory

Subject Areas

Kinesiology; Sports management


While a number of sport-related studies have explored sport fandom and its effects quantitatively, there is a lack of research that exists surrounding the lived experiences of fans, and thus any potential health-related benefits derived through fandom. The present study qualitatively explored the lived experiences of college football fans in the Southeast United States with aims to identify any potential health related benefits derived through fandom experiences. Eight participants were interviewed utilizing semi-structured interviews. Interviews were analyzed via interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results are discussed within the context of positive psychology and identity theory and suggest that participants experienced phycological and social well-being benefits as a result of their football fandom experiences and rituals. Furthermore, with respect to identity theory, results suggest that being a fan of the team provided a sense of self-purpose or meaning to participants that goes beyond just enjoyment for the game.