Stress Responses, Competition, and Free-Throw Performance: The Predicting Role of Other-Approach Goals

  • Mascret Nicolas
  • Vors Olivier
  • Marqueste Tanguy
  • Cury François

  • Cortisol
  • Sports
  • Anxiety
  • Achievement goals
  • Basketball


Experimental stress paradigms have been little used in the sport psychology literature because they are unrelated to the specific sport task. The Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) was used in the present study to investigate its influence on the free-throw performance of skilled basketball players. We also investigated the influence of adopting other-approach goals (i.e., doing well relative to others) on free-throw performance when basketball players were placed in a competition immediately after the TSST, comparatively with a control condition without competition. The results showed that free-throw performance decreased in the control condition, while free-throw performance remained stable when the TSST was followed by a competition. They also highlighted that other-approach goals were significant positive predictors of post-TSST performance in the competition condition but not in the control condition. The TSST may now be used with skilled athletes as an experimental stress paradigm to induce acute stress in the sport domain.