Football Viewing Linked to Domestic Violence

Summary
This study was undertaken to look at the connection between the emotional changes associated with a win or loss in a football game and family violence. The results showed that unexpected losses by home teams caused a 10 percent rise in domestic violence by men toward their wives and partners. On the other hand, an unexpected win or even an expected loss by the home team did not affect the level of domestic violence. The violence after an unexpected loss is more toward the end of the match.

Introduction
Numerous reports and studies have explored the common yet poorly understood occurrence of domestic violence by men toward their wives, partners and children. While some experts suggest that it is seen in dominating men who wish to control their spouses, many believe that it is just a situation where tempers and other emotions go beyond control. The second hypothesis believes that this type of violence is situational and thus unintentional. This study attempted to look at the effects of wins and losses by local football teams on emotional changes and the incidence of domestic violence by men against girlfriends and wives.

Methodology
* The data for the study was gathered from the police records of family violence registered in the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
* All reports comprise the nature of the crime, the victim’s age and sex, the offender’s sex and relationship with the victim and the details of the assault. The latter details include the time, place and date of injury and the severity of the injury.
* After this analysis, the association between the crimes and the games of six football teams of the National Football League was traced.

Results
* After taking into consideration the performance records of the playing teams and the total number of people who were watching the game, the analysis showed that unexpected losses by favored home teams raised the risk of domestic violence on wives and partners by 10 percent.
* However, if the loss was expected or if the game was won, there was little or no effect on domestic violence rates.
* The violence that was linked to unexpected losses was more toward the end of the game or earlier if it was an important game.

Shortcomings
The authors agree that because they have included family violence data from the NIBRS—which features only police reported incidents—their results may not encompass all cases. Further, police agencies do not always participate in the NIBRS. NIBRS covered only 4 percent of the American population in 1995 and 25 percent in 2006. The authors suggest further studies to explore the effects of emotional changes in men on domestic violence.

Conclusion
This study adds to the existing evidence that shows that media — particularly television — impacts a family in more ways than one. Studies reveal that while television guides people in their fertility choices and women’s status in society, it also affects the acceptance of partner violence. Some researchers have suggested that violent television and movie content affects men’s behavior, besides reducing the time a couple spends together. This study shows how an unexpected game loss can cause changes in the emotions of men and lead them to a 10 percent higher risk of violence toward their wives and girlfriends. The authors conclude, “NFL football games are likely to bring couples together, and the emotional cues associated with televised games place women at an elevated risk of abuse.”

For More Information:
Family Violence and Football: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Violent Behavior
Publication Journal: The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2011
By David Card; Gordon B Dahl

*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.
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