The Association Between Professional Football Games and Domestic Violence in Los Angeles County
Carolyn J. Sachs, & Lawrence D. Chu

Published: Journal of Interpersonal Violence, V. 15 (11), November 2000, 1192-1201

What is the scope of this study?
This study looks at Los Angeles County Sheriff Department dispatches in response to domestic violence calls during two football seasons. It explores the notion that professional football spectatorship increases the incidence of domestic violence, and hypothesized that dispatches for domestic violence would be significantly greater during football season and especially on days when professional football was played. In this study, domestic violence is defined as intimate partner violence.

How was this study conducted?
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) records and codes dispatches according to the type of crime, and the department responds to all domestic violence calls with a dispatch of department personnel. This study examined all LASD dispatches for domestic violence calls from January 1, 1993 to January 1, 1996. Researchers compared LASD dispatches for domestic violence on Wednesdays and Sundays during the '93-'94 and '94-'95 football seasons (Wednesday = no football played; Sunday = most football played in season). They also compared dispatches during football season compared to "off-season" (i.e., period of weeks when no professional football was being played). Percentage change in domestic violence LASD dispatches from Wednesdays to Sundays during football season was compared to percentage change between these two days during the "off" season. LASD domestic violence dispatches increased 40% during the time period of the study. This increase was taken into account when considering rates of domestic violence dispatches during football game days and football season.

What did the study find?
This study found no significant increase in incidence of domestic violence when professional football was being played. The increases in LASD domestic violence dispatches seen during the '93-'94 football season were not quite large enough to be statistically significant. There were fewer LASD dispatches for domestic violence during the '94-'95 football season compared to off-season.

How are these results explained? What are the implications for future study?
Researchers suggest that these results may be related to the performance of the Los Angeles Raiders during the two seasons considered in the study; more domestic violence dispatches occurred during the season when the Raiders were having a "winning season" than in the following season when the Raiders did not perform as well. Research supporting this notion is cited. However, this explanation is speculative. To better understand the impact of professional football games on the incidence of domestic violence, researchers recommend using well-designed, prospective studies in the future.

Reviewed by Priscilla Schulz, LCSW
Center for Trauma Recovery
University of Missouri - St. Louis
November 1, 2001
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