A Preliminary Survey of Interpersonal Conflictat Major Games and Championships

David Shearer, Stephen Mellalieu, Catherine Shearer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interpersonal conflict is a common factor reported by governing bodies and their athletes when preparing for, or competing in, major games and championships (Olusoga, Butt, Hays, and Maynard, 2009). The aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary exploration of a UK home nation's athletes, management, and support staff experiences of interpersonal conflict during competition. Ninety participants who had represented or worked for their nation at major games or championships completed a detailed survey of interpersonal conflict experiences associated with competition. The results suggest athletes, coaches, and team managers are at the greatest risk from interpersonal conflict, while the competition venue and athlete village are where the most incidences of conflict occur. Interpersonal conflict was also suggested to predominantly lead to negative cognitive, affective, and behavioral consequences (disagreement, anger, upset, loss in concentration). Findings are discussed in the context of the experience of the interpersonal conflict with provisional recommendations offered for developing effective strategies for conflict management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120 - 129
Number of pages9
JournalThe Sport Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • conflict
  • sport
  • organisational stress


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