Intragroup conflict in sports: a scoping review

Jonas Lüdemann*, Jens Kleinert

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Intragroup conflict is inevitable in sports teams. The aim of this scoping review is to examine the existing literature in this area in order to derive recommendations for future research on intragroup conflict in sport. Quantitative studies that have investigated intragroup conflict in sport groups were included. Studies that investigated only athlete-coach conflict were excluded. A systematic multi-database search, followed by a systematic forward and backward search, led to the identification of 48 studies. Thus far, research in this area has mainly been conducted in the competitive context of team sports with athletes aged between 18 and 25 years. It has been found that intragroup conflict does not necessarily correlate with team success or failure, while it appears to have a negative relationship with athletes’ mental health. In addition, studies have repeatedly revealed a relationship between intragroup conflict and group cohesion that is either positive or negative, depending on the dimension of intragroup conflict. At present, there are few recommendations for practice that can be derived from extant research. Future research should focus on outcomes, study designs, and a theoretical base in order to obtain a more comprehensive knowledge of intragroup conflict in sport.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - 08.11.2023