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The Influence of Communication on Physiology and Health

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James M. Honeycutt, Chris R. Sawyer and Shaughan Keaton

There is a significant amount of research that substantiates the connection between social support/relationships and the development, onset, and/or recovery of several physical diseases/illnesses. Research has shown, for example, that an unhappy marriage can increase the likelihood of becoming ill by 35% while stressful communication can lead to an increase in cardiovascular reactivity which in turn increases the risk of coronary heart disease and premature mortality.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of the influences of communication on physiology and physical health status occurring in a variety of contexts, from families, interpersonal relationships, and public speaking to sport fandom, affection, fear, and the escalation of conflict. It offers a broad and up-to-date review of the relevant literature in this area of study.
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Chapter 5: The Effects of Team Identity Formation and Sport Team Identification on Mental Health, Cognition, Behavior, and Physiology

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Chapter 5

The Effects of Team Identity Formation and Sport Team Identification on Mental Health, Cognition, Behavior, and Physiology

Shaughan A. Keaton and James M. Honeycutt

Sport team fandom is a worldwide phenomenon. Whether baseball in New York, cricket in Australia, futebol in Brazil, fútbol americano in the United States, hockey in Canada, basketball in China, or rugby in New Zealand, the outcomes of sporting contests affect those who invest their time, money, and self into sport teams. There are at least two important considerations when considering sport team fandom in these contexts. The first queries into the antecedents, or influences (i.e., input), of sport team fandom; the second speculates about what ways are we affected (i.e., output). These two processes are central for explaining how people come to be fans of a team and how it affects them: These processes are called team identity formation (TIF) and sport team identification (STI; for more information, see Keaton & Gearhart, 2013a). STI is a psychological connection to a sport team and TIF consists of ← 93 | 94 → the factors that influence how that connection is formed. TIF and STI influence sport team fans to act and feel differently in response to the performances of favorite teams. This chapter explores how STI and its formative factors (TIF) influence diverse psychological and behavioral outcomes. Some fans react with socially undesirable behaviors that can affect others, while others feel better about themselves psychologically.

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