Domestic Violence and Sports News: How Gender Affects People’s Understanding

Erin Willis 1 *, Patrick Ferrucci 1, Chad Painter 2, Edson Tandoc 3
More Detail
1 University of Colorado – Boulder, USA
2 University of Dayton, USA
3 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp. 70-87.
OPEN ACCESS   1443 Views   896 Downloads   Published online: 24 Jan 2018
Download Full Text (PDF)


Domestic abuse frequently appears in news headlines among professional athletes and has ignited much debate about personal conduct off the field. From Ray Rice and football to Hope Solo and soccer – domestic abuse has occurred. This study examined if and how participants differentiate between male and female victims and perpetrators of violence; specifically, whether participants placed blame differently when presented with a health message in a sports context when it involved a male or female athlete as perpetrator. Media influence topics of public conversation, and domestic abuse is an especially important public health issue. Sports media may be an outlet by which to reach both victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. Results and practical implications are discussed.


Willis, E., Ferrucci, P., Painter, C., & Tandoc, E. (2018). Domestic Violence and Sports News: How Gender Affects People’s Understanding. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 8(1), 70-87.


  • Abraham, L., & Appiah, O. (2006). Framing news stories: The role of visual imagery in priming racial stereotypes. Howard Journal of Communications, 17(3), 183-203.
  • Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, 58(1), 5-14.
  • Baragona, J. (2014). Message to mainstream media: Stop equating Hope Solo with Ray Rice. Politicus Sports. Retrieved from equating-hope-solo-with-ray-rice.html.
  • Barker, G., Ricardo, C., Nascimento, M., Olukoya, A., & Santos, C. (2010). Questioning gender norms with men to improve health outcomes: Evidence of impact. Global Public Health, 5(5), 539-553.
  • Billings, A. C. (2004). Depicting the quarterback in black and white: A content analysis of college and professional football broadcast commentary. Howard Journal of Communications, 15(4), 201-210.
  • Bodenhausen, G. V., Macrae, C. N., & Sherman, J. S. (1999). On the dialectics of discrimination: Dual processes in social stereotyping. In S. Chaiken & Y. Trope (Eds.), Dual process theories in social psychology (pp. 271-290). Guilford, CT: Guilford Press.
  • Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Basile, K. C., Walters, M. L., Chen, J., & Merrick, M. T. (2014). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization—national intimate partner and sexual violence survey, United States, 2011. Retrieved from preview/mmwrhtml/ss6308a1.htm?s_cid=ss6308a1_e.
  • Brewer, M.B. (1979). In-group bias in the minimal intergroup situation: A cognitivemotivational analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 86(2), 307-324.
  • Brown Givens, S. M., & Monahan, J. L. (2005). Priming mammies, jezebels, and other controlling images: An examination of the influence of mediated stereotypes on perceptions of an African American woman. Media Psychology, 7(1), 87-106.
  • Burgess, D., & Borgida, E. (1999). Who women are, who women should be: Descriptive and prescriptive gender stereotyping in sex discrimination. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 5(3), 665-692.
  • Busselle, R., & Bilandzic, H. (2009). Measuring narrative engagement. Media Psychology, 12(4), 321-347.
  • Carli, L. L. (2001). Gender and social influence. Journal of Social Issues, 57(4), 725-741.
  • Chambers, E. (2014). Hope Solo: Does domestic abuse have a double standard? BBC News. Retrieved from
  • Coates, T. N. (2014). No, Hope Solo is not “like” Ray Rice. The Atlantic. Retrieved from
  • Cohen, J. (2001). Defining identification: A theoretical look at the identification of audiences with media characters. Mass Communication & Society, 4(3), 245-264.
  • Cotter, D., Hermsen, J. M., & Vanneman, R. (2011). The end of the gender revolution? Gender role attitudes from 1977 to 2008. American Journal of Sociology, 117(1).
  • Crawford, M., & Unger, R. (2000). Women and gender: A feminist psychology (3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
  • Dalisay, F., & Tan, A. (2009). Assimilation and contrast effects in the priming of Asian American and African American stereotypes through TV exposure. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 86(1), 7-22.
  • Devine, P.G. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(1), 5.
  • Dijksterhuis, A., & Van Knippenberg, A. (1996). The knife that cuts both ways: Facilitated and inhibited access to traits as a result of stereotype activation. Journal of experimental social psychology, 32(3), 271-288.
  • Dovidio, J. F., Kawakami, K., Johnson, C., Johnson, B., & Howard, A. (1997). On the nature of prejudice: Automatic and controlled processes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 33(5), 510-540.
  • Dupont, K. P. (2014). Hope Solo assault case getting little publicity. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from
  • Eagly, A. H. (2009). The his and hers of prosocial behavior: An examination of the social psychology of gender. American Psychologist, 64(8), 644-658.
  • Eagly, A. H. (2013). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • ESPN. (2015). Retrieved from
  • Ferrucci, P., Tandoc, E. C., Painter, C. E., & Leshner, G. (2013). A black and white game: Racial stereotypes in baseball. Howard Journal of Communications, 24(3), 309- 325.
  • Gardikiotis, A. (2008). Group distinctiveness, political identification, and the third-person effect: Perceptions of a political campaign in the 2004 Greek national election. Media Psychology, 11(3), 331-353.
  • Harris, O. (1994). Race, sport, and social support. Sociology of Sport Journal, 11(1), 40- 50.
  • Helgeson, V. S. (2002). The psychology of gender. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • Higgins, J. A., Hoffman, S., & Dworkin, S. L. (2010). Rethinking gender, heterosexual men, and women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. American Journal of Public Health, 100(3), 435-445.
  • Konijn, E. A., Nije Bijvank, M., & Bushman, B. J. (2007). I wish I were a warrior: The role of wishful identification in the effects of violent video games on aggression in adolescent boys. Developmental psychology, 43(4), 1038.
  • Leshner, G. (2006). The effects of dehumanizing depictions of race in TV news stories. In A. Reynolds & B. Barnett (Eds.), Communication and law: Multidisciplinary approaches to research (pp. 233-251). Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Levant, R. F., & Richmond, K. (2007). A review of research on masculinity ideologies using the Male Role Norms Inventory. Journal of Men’s Studies, 15(2), 130-146.
  • Linville, P. W., & Fischer, G. W. (1993). Exemplar and abstraction models of perceived group variability and stereotypicality. Social Cognition, 11, 92-125.
  • Littmann, C. (2014). Hope Solo’s domestic violence incident raises double standard question. The Sporting News. Retrieved from 201409-19/hope-solo-domestic- violence-ray-rice-nike-uswnt-us-soccer.
  • Mahalik, J. R., Morray, E. B., Coonerty-Femiano, A., Ludlow, L. H., Slattery, S. M., & Smiler, A. (2005). Development of the Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory. Sex Roles, 52(7/8), 417-435.
  • McDonough, K. (2014). The domestic violence gender trap: Hope Solo, Ray Rice and the tired myopia of “women do it too”. Salon. Retrieved from o_ray_rice_and_the_tired_myopia_of_women_do_it_too/.
  • Moore, T. M., Stuart, G. L., McNulty, J. K., Addis, M. E., Cordova, J. V., & Temple, J. R. (2010). Domains of masculine gender role stress and intimate partner violence in a clinical sample of violent men. Psychology of Violence, 1(S), 68-75.
  • National Institutes of Health (2015). Domestic violence. Retrieved from
  • O’keefe, D. J. (1987). The persuasive effects of delaying identification of high- and lowcredibility communicators: A meta-analytic review. Communication Studies, 38(2), 63-72.
  • Petretic-Jackson, P., Sandberg, G., & Jackson, T.L. (1994). The domestic violence blame scale (DVBS). In L. VandeCreek (Ed.), Innovations in clinical practice: A source book (pp. 265-278). Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Exchange.
  • Prentice, D. A., & Carranza, E. (2002). What women and men should be, shouldn’t be, are allowed to be, and don’t have to be: The contents of prescriptive gender stereotypes. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26(4), 269-281.
  • Sternthal, B., Dholakia, R., & Leavitt, C. (1978). The persuasive effect of source credibility: Tests of cognitive response. Journal of Consumer Research, 252-260.
  • Stets, J. E., & Burke, P. J. (2000). Identity theory and social identity theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, 63(1), 224-237.
  • Tajfel, H. (1982). Social identity and intergroup relations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33-47). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.
  • Ter Bogt, T. F., Engels, R. C., Bogers, S., & Kloosterman, M. (2010). “Shake it baby, shake it”: Media preferences, sexual attitudes and gender stereotypes among adolescents. Sex Roles, 63(11-12), 844-859.
  • Tsfati, Y., & Cappella, J. N. (2003). Do people watch what they do not trust? Exploring the association between news media skepticism and exposure. Communication Research, 30(5), 504-529.
  • Turner, J. (1982). Towards a cognitive redefinition of the social group. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), Social identity and intergroup relations (pp. 15-40). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Van Natta Jr., D., & Van Valkenburg, K. (2014). Rice case: purposeful misdirection by team, scant investigation by NFL. Retrieved from
  • Wittenbrink, B., Judd, C. M., & Park, B. (1997). Evidence for racial prejudice at the implicit level and its relationship with questionnaire measures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72(2), 262.