ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (4): 570-585.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00570

• Meta-Analysis • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The influence of ego depletion on sporting performance: A meta-analysis

XIANG Mingqiang1,2; ZHANG Liwei1; ZHANG Apei1; YANG Hongying3   

  1. (1 Sport Psychology Section, Dept. of Sports Kinetics, Beijing Sport University, Beijing 100084, China) (2 Dept. of Sport and Health, Guangzhou Sport University, Guangzhou 510500, China) (3 Library of Beijing Sport University, Beijing 10084, China)
  • Received:2016-05-23 Online:2017-04-15 Published:2017-04-15
  • Contact: ZHANG Liwei, E-mail:


This meta-analysis examined the effect of ego depletion, as well as potential moderators, on sporting performance. A search of relevant literature in both Chinese and English databases yielded a total of 31 papers (n = 1613 participants), which were all included in the meta-analysis. The results revealed that: (1) There was a moderate effect of ego depletion on sporting performance (d = 0.55, 95% CI [0.39, 0.71]), although this might be overestimated due to publication bias. (2) The effect of ego depletion on sporting performance was not moderated by the type of participant or sporting task, but was moderated by the type of ego depleting task and stress manipulation used. (3) There was no significant effect found for ego depletion on subjective perceived exertion, heart rate, or EMG activation in the sporting tasks. These findings support the generalizability of Baumeister’s Strength Model of Self-Control, as well as its integration with Eysenck and colleague’s Attention Control Theory. Future research should attempt to standardize the experimental conditions employed, and explore interventions designed to mitigate against ego depletion effects in sport.

Key words: ego depletion, sporting performance, the strength model of self-control, meta-analysis