Threat Perception in Competitive Trait Anxiety: The Endangerment of Important Goals

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Relationships between goal related threat appraisal and competitive trait anxiety were examined in a field study with 102 9- to 15-year-old male soccer players. Questionnaires assessed (a) the frequency and intensity of somatic and cognitive symptoms of competitive trait anxiety, (b) the personal importance of various goals in youth sports, (c) children's perceptions of the extent to which these goals were endangered through sport participation, and (d) self-esteem. Correlational analyses indicated significant but weak relationships between a summary appraisal of threat to important goals and the frequency of somatic and cognitive competitive trait anxiety symptoms, and a stronger relationship between summary threat and competitive trait anxiety intensity. Greater perceived threat to effort/mastery and competitive achievement goals was reported by boys with higher, rather than lower, competitive trait anxiety. Within the sample, however, a cluster analysis revealed considerable individual variation in the degree of threat perceived with respect to each of four identified goals.

Rebecca Lewthwaite is with the Department of Human kinetics, Enderis 411, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee,-WI 53201.

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