Tebowing: The Role of Religious Primes on Disposition Formation and the Appreciation of Sports News

Event Name/Location

Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication / Washington D.C.

Date Range

August 8-11, 2013

Presentation Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The purpose of this study was to use priming and affective disposition theories to examine how religious primes in sports news can influence judgments of media characters (disposition formation) and appreciation of the media content. Participants (396) were randomly assigned to read one of three sports news features in which an athlete expresses a religious association (either Christian or Muslim) or no religious association. Disposition toward the athlete was more positive for the articles including the expression of religious affiliation compared to the control article. However, the article in the Christian condition was evaluated more positively than the other two articles. Linear regression was used to examine the impact of sports interest, religious affiliation, and religiosity schemas on disposition and appreciation for each condition. Religiosity and sports interest explained disposition toward the athlete and appreciation of the article in the Christian condition while only religiosity explained appreciation of the article in the Muslim condition. This study extends the literature by examining how attribute cues such as religious affiliation in media coverage of athletes can prime cognitive and affective constructs that relate to disposition formation and media appreciation.