Competing with oneself or with others: Achievement goal endorsement in amateur golf competition

Mickaël Jury *, Annique Smeding ** and Céline Darnon ***

(*) Université Clermont Auvergne, Université Blaise Pascal, Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive, France
(**) Laboratoire InterUniversitaire de Psychologie, Université Savoie Mont Blanc, France
(***) Université Clermont Auvergne, Université Blaise Pascal, Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive & Institut Universitaire de France, France

Among the antecedents of achievement goal endorsement in sports, competition is a consistent predictor of other-approach goal endorsement (trying to perform better than other players). However, most of this previous research was conducted in a context implying a strong focus on normative social comparison. We argue that in other competitive contexts, where both social comparison and temporal comparison are salient, competition can affect players’ self-approach goals (trying to perform better than one has done in the past) rather than other-approach goals. Two experiments were conducted with golf players. Results showed that when an intrapersonal standard was salient (e.g., “handicap competition”), golf competition increased selfapproach but not other-approach goal endorsement. However, when interpersonalstandard is made salient (e.g., match-play competition), golf competition increased other-approach goal endorsement. Limits and future perspectives are discussed.

Keywords: Competition, Golf, Improvement, Other-based goals, Self-based goals


back