An initial exploration into the psychological implications of adolescents' involvement with professional wrestling

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SAGE Journals
Professional wrestling has become an internationally popular type of 'sport entertainment' among youth. The professional wrestling industry targets children as consumers for live events, televised programming and product merchandising. However, the nature of wrestling has changed in the last two decades and many educators are unaware of the themes and messages that wrestling promotes. This article provides a historical and contemporary overview of professional wrestling and discusses the psychological implications of the violence of wrestling on children. In an initial study, measures of wrestling involvement, aggressive response to shame and Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) scores were analysed for 121 male participants (ages 10 to 17). Results indicated that those participants reporting more wrestling involvement tended to respond more aggressively to shame, demonstrated moderately higher levels of school maladjustment, showed higher levels of internalizing problems such as anxiety and social stress and showed lower levels of self-esteem and perceived self-adequacy. Directions for future research and implications for school psychologists are discussed.
Wrestling, Behavior Assessment System for Children, Adjustment (Psychology) in adolescence
Bernthal, M. J., & Medway, F. J. (2005). An initial exploration into the psychological implications of adolescents’ involvement with professional wrestling. School Psychology International, 26(2), 224-242.