Wann, D. L., Carlson, J. D., Holland, L. C., Jacob, B. E., Owens, D. A., & Wells, D. D. (1999). Beliefs in symbolic catharsis: The importance of involvement with aggressive sports. Social Behavior and Personality, 27 (2), 155-164.

Abstract:  Although previous investigations have consistently refuted the notion of catharsis, research indicates that a substantial proportion of the general population continues to believe that aggression can lead to a lowering of subsequent aggression. The current study examined the relationships among involvement in aggressive and nonaggressive sports and beliefs in symbolic sport catharsis (i.e., the belief that watching aggressive sports will lead to a reduction in aggression). 109 college students completed study questionnaires. Results support the hypothesized pattern of effects as persons with a high level of involvement with aggressive sports were particularly likely to believe that watching aggressive sports on television and in person can lead to a reduction in aggressive behavior. Also consistent with expectations, differences in beliefs in symbolic sport catharsis were not found between groups differing in their involvement with nonaggressive sports. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)