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Link between winning and alcohol fuelled violence

12 April 2007

A new study from the Violence Research Group shows a link between positive outcomes of matches and the likelihood of violence, frequently fuelled by alcohol.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health is based on questionnaires completed by 197 men attending rugby matches at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Fans were questioned before entering the stadium and again when leaving after a game. They were asked about their happiness levels, levels of aggression and how much they intended to drink.

The study found that although happiness levels went down among fans whose team lost, it stayed constant for those who won.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, one of the authors of the study said, "What we found was that hope springs eternal. When people go to a game they are expecting their team to win and so they feel positive and optimistic. When their team does win their happiness levels don't change much. The aggression may be to do with the fact that supporters feel invincible and that their status and power has been increased and so they then go off into town, or home, feeling like the king of the castle. They feel confident and so become more likely to challenge someone or to react if challenged."

Violence Research Group [131.5 Kb]