Sources of Competitive Stress in Young Female Athletes

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of California, Los Angeles
  • | 2 University of Washington
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This field study examined the intrapersonal and situational factors related to the stress experienced by 10- to 12-year-old girls participating in competitive youth soccer. Factors potentially related to competitive stress were assessed at preseason, midseason, pregame, and postgame periods. Competitive stress, measured by the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory for Children, was assessed 30 min. prior to and immediately following a competitive game. Results indicated that higher pregame stress was related to high competitive trait anxiety and basal state anxiety as well as low self-esteem and team performance expectancies. The situational factor of game outcome (win, tie, loss) was the predominant variable associated with stress exhibited after the game, with losers evidencing the highest and winners the lowest postgame stress. The most important intrapersonal factor related to postgame stress was the amount of fun experienced during the game. The findings were quite similar to previous field research with young male soccer players, indicating that both sexes seem to share common sources of stress.

This research was supported by two grants to T. K. Scanlan including the Biomedical Research Support Grant USPHS 5 S05-RR-7009 and Grant 3188 from the University of California, Los Angeles. M. W. Passer received support during the preparation of this manuscript from Grant 145 from the Graduate School Research Fund, University of Washington. The authors gratefully acknowledge the cooperation received from the American Youth Soccer Organization and its participants.

Reprint requests should be sent to Tara K. Scanlan, Department of Kinesiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Ca. 90024.

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