The utility of modern theories of intergroup bias for research on antecedents to team identification

James A. Dimmock*, Daniel F. Gucciardi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Much of the literature on team identification has focused on assessing outcomes to the construct rather than on motives for its development and maintenance. This article comments on research and theorising in social psychology that can contribute to an understanding of motives for team identification. Design: A review and comment on the application of theories of intergroup bias to the study of team identification. Method: Four modern theories of intergroup bias-social identity theory, optimal distinctiveness theory, uncertainty-identity theory, and terror management theory-are overviewed. Potential applications of these theories to future research on motives for team identification are also offered. Results: It is argued that the four theories share similar tenets with reference to motives for social identity. A programme of research that evaluates these motives in the context of sport team identification is offered. Conclusions: It is hoped that this paper will stimulate research into precursors of team identification and that the findings from such research will help sport teams and governing bodies to promote or control certain types of spectator behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-300
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Optimal distinctiveness theory
  • Social identity theory
  • Team identification
  • Terror management theory
  • uncertainty-identity theory


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