Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Edward F Etzel

Committee Co-Chair

Scott Barnicle

Committee Member

David C Mitchell

Committee Member

Jack C Watson


In sport, aggressive behavior is a potentially harmful byproduct of uncontrolled anger. In addition, it is known that provocation can lead to both anger and aggressive retaliation. However, despite the potential consequences of aggressive behavior, little is known about levels of competitive anger and aggressiveness in athletes, and it is unclear if differences exist by gender or type of sport. Little research has also explored intervention approaches to help athletes better manage anger and aggression. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore competitive aggressiveness, anger, and the experience of provocation among collegiate athletes. Participants were 243 male and female contact or collision sport athletes competing at NCAA Division I, II, and III universities across the country. Participants filled out questionnaires assessing both competitive aggressiveness and anger and the experience of provocation. Overall, it was found that male athletes scored significantly higher than female athletes on competitive aggressiveness, as well as experiencing more frequent provocative behavior and more negative and intense responses to provocation. Collision sport athletes were also found to be higher in competitive aggressiveness and anger, regardless of gender. Division I and II athletes were found to be significantly higher than Division III athletes in competitive aggressiveness and anger.