Cognitive Anxiety and Mental Errors in Sport

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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This investigation tested the relationship between level of cognitive anxiety and degree of mental errors in a sport setting. Subjects were female high school varsity softball players. The dimensions of cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence were assessed by the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2). Coaches evaluated mental errors during game play by ratings on a 10-point bipolar scale. Final subject selection was determined by dichotomizing individuals who scored lower on the scale (1-4) and higher on the scale (7-10). Analysis of variance yielded a single significant main effect which indicated that the two mental-error groups differed in cognitive anxiety. This supports the major prediction tested. Discussion centers on the apparent benefits of investigating variables more intimately associated with the attentional/cognitive disruption process versus focusing solely on objective sport outcome.

The authors are with the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA 92634.

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