Designing a Qualitative Model of the Factors Affecting Psychological Commitment in Football Fans based on Grounded Theory

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Candidate of Sports Management, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Sports Management, Kharazmi University

3 Associate Professor of Sports Management, University of Tehran


Psychological commitment has been to date one of the interesting research topics in sports psychology. To achieve a deeper understanding of sports fans' psychological characteristics, this study aimed to design a qualitative model of the factors affecting psychological commitment in football fans in Iran based on grounded theory approach. In this qualitative-analytical study, 27 experts in the field of sports and fan loyalty in the Iranian Football Premier League from the top universities in Iran were interviewed based on purposive and triangulation sampling approach. The data analysis was also performed by open and axial coding, of which 53 concepts and 11 categories were classified under five general themes. The developed research model consisted of five major effective factors including: triggers, psychological characteristics, demographic characteristics, reference groups, and club-related issues. The results revealed that such factors could be the main actors shaping sports fans' psychological commitment.