Competitive Marching and Psychological Needs

Project Abstract

Prior investigations of sport fandom emphasize team identification’s impact on various aspects of social psychological health (Phua 2012; Wann & Weaver, 2009; Wann et al., 2015). Wann and James (2019) underscore the possible use of sport fandom as a way of meeting basic psychological needs. Indeed, evidence suggests sport fandom permits individuals to establish and maintain social connections (Kim & James, 2019; Theodorakis et al., 2012), stand out as distinct (Andrijiw & Hyatt, 2009), gain meaning and a sense of purpose (Doyle et al., 2016), and derive structure (Dimmock & Grove, 2006).

Wann and Robinson (2021) simultaneously analyze the use of sport fandom and team identification as means of meeting these four psychological needs (i.e., need to belong, need for distinctiveness, need for meaning, and need for structure). Their work suggests both sport fandom and team identification were positively correlated with each of the four psychological needs. Namely, both constructs were more related to the need to belong compared to the other needs.

However, a gap in fandom research exists. Psychological research regarding the fandom of competitive marching ensembles (e.g., fans of high school marching band, drum corps international, winter guard international, etc.) is rare. Outside of a few articles (e.g., Ma and Hall (2018); Levy and Lounsbury (2011)), research regarding the marching arts is relatively infertile. The purpose of the current investigation is to examine the potential use of competitive marching fandom as a means of achieving these basic psychological needs.

Spectators at competitions: Spectators at various competitive marching competitions (e.g., Bands of America, Drum Corps International, Winter Guard International) will be invited to complete five questionnaires. Specifically, prior to the contest, a research assistant will hand the QR code (includes cover letter) to spectators in the stadium at the target competitions informing the fans of the study and asking for their participation. Those agreeing to participate will then receive the questionnaires.

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts


Major: Psychology Minor: Biology


M.S. in Clinical Psychology




Daniel L. Wann

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

This document is currently not available here.