Anger and perceived legitimacy of aggression in male Hong Kong Chinese athletes: Effects of type of sport and level of competition

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Problem: The vast majority of research examining the interplay between aggressive emotions, beliefs, behaviors, cognitions, and situational contingencies in competitive athletes has focused on Western populations and only select sports (e.g., ice hockey). Research involving Eastern, particularly Chinese, athletes is surprisingly sparse given the sheer size of these populations. Thus, this study examines the aggressive emotions, beliefs, behaviors, and cognitions, of competitive Chinese athletes. Method: Several measures related to aggression were distributed to a large sample (N ¼ 471) of male athletes, representing four sports (basketball, rugby union, association football/soccer, and squash). Results: Higher levels of anger and aggression tended to be associated with higher levels of play for rugby and low levels of play for contact (e.g., football, basketball) and individual sports (e.g., squash). Conclusions: The results suggest that the experience of angry emotions and aggressive behaviors of Chinese athletes are similar to Western populations, but that sport psychology practitioners should be aware of some potentially important differences, such as the general tendency of Chinese athletes to disapprove of aggressive behavior.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-296
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • aggressive emotions, beliefs, behaviors, cognitions, situational contingencies, competitive athletes, Chinese athletes, higher levels of play, rugby, low levels of play, contact sport, individual sports

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