Applied Research Predispositions to Experience Debilitative and Facilitative Anxiety in Elite and Nonelite Performers
The major purpose of this study was to examine the distinction between "intensity" (i.e., level) and "direction" (i.e., interpretation of level as either debilitative or facilitative) of competitive anxiety symptoms as a function of skill level. Elite (n = 68) and nonelite (n = 65) competitive cricketers completed a modified version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2. The findings showed no difference between the two groups on the intensity of cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms, but elite performers interpreted both anxiety states as being more facilitative to performance than did the nonelite performers. No differences emerged between the groups for self-confidence. Further analyses showed that cricketers in the nonelite group who reported their anxiety as debilitative had higher cognitive anxiety intensity levels than those who reported it as facilitative, but no such differences were evident in the elite group. These findings provide further support for the distinction between intensity and direction of competitive state anxiety symptoms.