Football referees cope by thinking they are better than other refs

April 10, 2013
Football referees cope by thinking they are better than other refs

(Medical Xpress)—Football referees at all levels think they are better than their colleagues – and that may be how they cope with the pressures of this difficult and often thankless task, according to researchers at Northumbria University.

That is the conclusion of research presented by Dr Melissa Anderson and Dr Sandy Wolfson, from Northumbria University, at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society.

Past research with referees suggests that one way they cope with the pressures is by comparing themselves favourably with other referees. This new study set out to see if the same is true of referees at Premier League level.

Dr Anderson and Dr Wolfson surveyed 11 referees and 183 who officiate at county level. The two groups were asked to compare themselves with other referees at the same level on positive (e.g. well prepared, confident, decisive) and negative (e.g. anxious, under pressure, apprehensive) characteristics.

They found that both elite and county referees saw themselves as superior to their colleagues and to a similar degree. The older and more experienced a referee was, the more likely he was to see himself as superior.

Dr Anderson said: "Referees at all levels need to feel good about themselves. They believe that they are skilful and hardworking, and they can't imagine that their fellow referees are superior to them. This helps them to cope with the considerable unrestrained, abusive comments about their competence, fitness and even their from the crowd, players, managers and the media.

"But obviously not every referee can be better than every other ref! More experienced referees are more likely to have learnt strategies to help them deal with the pressure. Or it could be that who are not able to do this drop out before they ever become experienced."

Explore further: Referees feel stress during matches regardless of their physical condition

Related Stories

Referees feel stress during matches regardless of their physical condition

February 21, 2012
All referees feel stress on match days. However, contrary to what you might believe, a joint study by the Catholic University of Brasilia, A Coruña University and James Cook University in Australia state that the level ...

Recommended for you

Many kinds of happiness promote better health, study finds

July 21, 2017
A new study links the capacity to feel a variety of upbeat emotions to better health.

Study examines effects of stopping psychiatric medication

July 20, 2017
Despite numerous obstacles and severe withdrawal effects, long-term users of psychiatric drugs can stop taking them if they choose, and mental health care professionals could be more helpful to such individuals, according ...

Study finds gene variant increases risk for depression

July 20, 2017
A University of Central Florida study has found that a gene variant, thought to be carried by nearly 25 percent of the population, increases the odds of developing depression.

In making decisions, are you an ant or a grasshopper?

July 20, 2017
In one of Aesop's famous fables, we are introduced to the grasshopper and the ant, whose decisions about how to spend their time affect their lives and future. The jovial grasshopper has a blast all summer singing and playing, ...

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

July 20, 2017
Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

Old antibiotic could form new depression treatment

July 19, 2017
An antibiotic used mostly to treat acne has been found to improve the quality of life for people with major depression, in a world-first clinical trial conducted at Deakin University.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.