It is well documented that competition can affect performance and emotion in sport. However, our understanding of the comparative effects of individual and team competitions on performance and emotion is limited. We also know little about emotion-based mechanisms underlying the effects of different types of competition on performance. To address these issues, 64 participants completed a handgrip endurance task during time-trial, one-on-one, two-on-two, and four-on-four competitions while self-report and possible corroborative physiological measures of enjoyment, anxiety, and effort were assessed. Results indicated that performance, enjoyment, anxiety, and effort increased from individual to team competitions. The observed increases in performance were mediated by increased enjoyment and effort. Our findings illustrate differential effects of individual and team competitions on performance and emotion. Moreover, they indicate that both enjoyment-based and anxiety-based mechanisms can explain changes in performance among different types of individual and team competition.
Andrew Cooke is with the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, Gwynedd, UK. Maria Kavussanu, David McIntyre, and Christopher Ring are with the School of Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.