Study: Domestic violence spikes after an NFL upset

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:06 PM ET

Some people just can't keep their cool when they're sure-thing football game turns into an upset, it seems.

A new U.S. study has found a 10% rise in domestic violence calls to police in areas where the local NFL team lost a game they were favoured to win.

Researchers analyzed 900 regular-season pro-football games and found that calls reporting men's assaults on their partners went up during a three-hour window that runs roughly from the final hour of a game in which the local team was not performing well as expected to the two hours following the upset loss.

When teams won unexpectedly or lost games that were expected to be close, there was no decrease in reports of violence.

"Our results suggest that the overall rise in violence between the intimate partners we studied is driven entirely by losses in games that matter most to fans," said David Card, one of the study's co-authors.

The researchers say their analysis supports earlier findings that unexpected disappointments have a greater effect on people than happy surprises.

"This is not limited to football," Card said. "Someone who gets a speeding ticket on the way home, for example, might also be more likely to act out in a way he would later regret."

In one third of the games analyzed, the local team was expected to win by four or more points. When the favoured team lost, the researchers found a spike in reports of violence by men against a female partner at home, compared to weeks when the team didn't play.

-tr-


Videos

Photos