Psychological, muscular and kinematic factors mediate performance under pressure

A Cooke, Maria Kavussanu, David McIntyre, Christopher Ring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract It is well established that performance is influenced by pressure, but the underlying mechanisms of the pressure-performance relationship are poorly understood. To address this important issue, the current experiment evaluated psychological, physiological, and kinematic factors as mediators of the pressure-performance relationship. Psychological, physiological, and kinematic responses to three levels of competitive pressure were measured in 23 males and 35 females during a golf putting task. Pressure manipulations impaired putting performance. Self-reported anxiety, effort, and perceived pressure were increased. Heart rate, heart rate variability, muscle activity, and lateral clubhead acceleration were also elevated. Mediation analyses revealed that effort, muscle activity, and lateral acceleration partially mediated the decline in performance. Results confirmed that pressure elicits effects on performance through multiple pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1109-1118
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • Movement kinematics
  • Golf putting
  • Anxiety
  • Processing efficiency
  • Competition
  • Attention


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