Objectives: To measure the level of psychological distress caused to supporters of a football team by relegation from the English Premier League. The relationship between age, sex and psychological distress are examined.
Method: Opportunity sample cross-sectional survey. Participants were approached through networks of fans and through e-mail networks. Participants were supporters (n = 65) of two relegated premiership football teams. Participants completed the Impact of Event Scale.
Results: Mean total Impact of Event Scale scores indicated a clinically significant degree of psychological distress for the majority of respondents. Age or sex of the participants did not predict Impact of Event Scale scores.
Conclusions: The results are discussed in terms of the magnitude of Impact of Event Scale scores in relation to other stressors. It is concluded that the impact of such sporting events is psychologically significant. The psychological literature has considered traumatic stress responses to a number of stressors such as threats to life, threats to psychological well-being, threats to physical/ psychological well-being of others, witnessing traumatic events and involvement in a human or natural disaster.