Aggression has a long history in both mainstream psychology and sports psychology. It has a considerable debate around its definition, primarily due to the difficulties of determining whether the perpetrator has the intention to harm the victim when acting in a certain way. It can be either instrumental or hostile. It results from frustration.
In sports, frustration could occur from a variety of reasons like losing, not playing well, being hurt, and perceived unfairness in the competition. It generally heightens one’s predisposition toward aggression. Contextual factors occur and according to the situational cues, the behavior of an individual predicts whether this athlete or spectator, will exhibit aggression or not.
Some theorists view aggression as learned behavior and conclude that Aggression develops in a sport where an athlete’s expectancies for reinforcement for aggressive behavior are high, and where the reward value outweighs the punishment value
Instrumental aggression is a type of behavior directed at the target as a means to an end and is motivated by some other goal, for instance, injuring a player on a purpose to gain a competitive advantage, or late tackling to stop an opponent from scoring.
On the other hand, hostile aggression is a type of behavior that aims towards another player who has angered or provoked the individual and is an end in itself. Its main motive is to harm for its own sake, for instance, hitting an opponent who has just been aggressive against the player.
Hostile aggression is typically preceded by anger which is the result of an individual’s interactions with the personal social environment over time. Instrumental aggression is not normally associated with anger and, in sport, is far more frequent than hostile aggression. In both types of aggression, a target person is harmed, and therefore the harm is often physical or psychological.
Some individuals can also exhibit aggression according to the situation. For instance, in between-game, or score opposition, etc. As the number of individual difference factors has been associated, that is, legitimacy judgments, moral disengagement, and ego orientation, one such reason to develop aggression can also be the encouragement of the crowd as it influences the athlete.
Athletes are more likely to be aggressive when they judge aggressive and rule-violating behaviors. Moral disengagement, a set of psychosocial mechanisms that people use to justify aggression. Through these justifications, athletes engage in aggression and manage to experience no negative feelings like guilt that normally controls their behavior.
By- Sakshi Bhardwaj
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