Menu
X
image

Do you perform better when you’re in good mood?

There is a strong intuitive association between mood states and sport performance. But what does science say? Peter Terry and Andrew Lane from the UK’s Brunel University have spent several years investigating the mood-performance relationships. In a comprehensive review article, they highlight the three most common research questions:

  1. Are mood responses different between athletes and non-athletes?
  2. Can mood responses differentiate athletes of varying levels of achievement (expert versus novice)?
  3. Can mood responses differentiate performance outcome among athletes of similar ability?

First, a few general remarks:

Profile of Mood States: TestMain test used to measure the mood is Profile of Mood States, or POMS. You can give the test a try yourself here.

The influence of mood upon performance may differ depending on the duration of sport, as well as on how success is defined. The duration of dancing events varies depending on the dance style and number of rounds in a competition. Generally, the longer the duration of sport, the less accurate the pre-competition mood can predict performance, because the mood will have more time to fluctuate. The definition of success can be based either on objective criteria (e.g. win/loss, selection/non selection into the team), or self-referenced criteria (e.g. achievement of personal goals, percentage of personal best). Self-referenced success is a more sensitive measure of the quality of performance and may also better reflect the impact of pre-competition mood.

1. Are mood responses different between athletes and non-athletes?

In respect of the first question, research has demonstrated quite clearly: When compared to general population, the mood profiles of athletes – especially at the elite level – are typically characterized by above average Vigor scores and below average scores for Tension, Depression, Anger, Fatigue, and Confusion. Such pattern of mood responses is called an iceberg profile and is possibly a sign of positive mental health.



2. Can mood responses differentiate athletes of varying levels of achievement (expert versus novice)?

Here, reliable conclusions have been far more elusive, with majority of studies suggesting that it is unreasonable to expect mood to predict athletic achievement of experts vs. novices. Thus, we can rest assured that mood responses do not reliably differentiate between athletes at different levels.

3. Can mood responses differentiate performance outcome among athletes of similar ability?

The suggestion that POMS scores are predictive of performance among athletes of homogeneous ability is perhaps the most intuitively reliable association, yet a definitive answer to this research question has also proved elusive. Some studies and reviews suggest that the link is very weak and the mood accounts for less than 1% of the variance in performance. However, when taking into consderation the influencing factors (duration of sport, the type of skills involved, definition of performance), pre-performance mood responses do have utility in the prediction of performance outcome, especially when the duration is short, performance is judged using self-referenced criteria, and when the sports involve more open skills rather than closed skills. Overall, although POMS has been shown to have utility in predicting performance of athletes of similar ability, the overall effect is moderate at best.

When investigating the indivudual elements of the POMS test, the athletes’ scores in Vigor, Confusion, and Depression have the highest correlation with their later performance. The negative effects upon performance of Tension and Anger are quite small. The reason is that tension and anger are influenced by depression: They will debilitate performance for an athlete in a depressed mood, but have no influence on a happy athlete.



To sum up:

  1. Are mood responses different between athletes and non-athletes?
    YES! Athletes have an iceberg profile (high Vigor and low Tension, Depression, Anger, Fatigue, and Confusion).
  1. Can mood responses differentiate athletes of varying levels of achievement (expert versus novice)?
    A definite no.
  1. Can mood responses differentiate performance outcome among athletes of similar ability?
    Sometimes. The link between mood and performance is stonger when sports are of short duration, and success is defined using self-referenced criteria.

Don’t forget to see how you score on the POMS test

Full text publications:
Beedie, C. J., Terry, P. C., & Lane, A. M. (2000). The Profile of Mood States and athletic performance: Two meta-analyses. Journal of applied sport psychology, 12(1), 49-68.
Grove, J.R., & Prapavessis, H. (1992). Preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of an abbreviated Profile of Mood States. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 23, 93-109.



Back To Home

Please activate some widgets

© 2018 DanceNexus. All rights reserved