Black sheep effect among athletes: When does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?

Leslie R Hawley, University of Texas at El Paso


Hypotheses from Social Identity Theory (SIT; Tajfel, 1982) and the black sheep effect (BSE; Marques, Yzerbyt, & Leyens, 1988) were used to predict judgments of deviant behavior. Participants were given scenarios where athletic status (non-athlete vs. athlete), degree of aggression (high vs. low), and salience (athletic context vs. context free) were manipulated. Participants' judged the seriousness of the offense, the damage caused, the degree of recommended punishment, whether they would want to work with the offending individual, the degree to which the offense reflected on them personally, and the degree of typicality of the offense. Participants completed questionnaires to explore perception of and identification with student-athletes. The expectations based on SIT and BSE were supported. Data revealed significant effects for participants' athletic status and measures of seriousness, reflections on the university, punishment, and whether they would work with the individual. The results and their implications for student-athletes are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Experimental

Recommended Citation

Hawley, Leslie R, "Black sheep effect among athletes: When does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1435329.