The purpose of this investigation was to examine Leary’s (1992) contention that competitive anxiety revolves around the self-presentational implications of sport competition. Intercollegiate athletes (N = 199) completed inventories assessing competitive trait anxiety and self-presentational concerns. Principal-axis factor analysis with direct oblim rotation of self-presentational concern items produced an interpretable four-factor solution accounting for 62% of the variance. These factors were interpreted to represent self-presentational concerns about Performance/Composure Inadequacies, Appearing Fatigued/Lacking Energy, Physical Appearance, and Appearing Athletically Untalented. Correlational and structural equation modeling analyses revealed that self-presentational concern was more strongly associated with cognitive rather than somatic anxiety, and that substantial portions of variance in competitive anxiety could be accounted for by self-presentational concern variables. The results of this investigation provide support for Leary’s (1992) assertion regarding the relationship between self-presentational concern and competitive anxiety.
Philip Wilson and Robert C. Eklund are with the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202. Any correspondence should be addressed to the second author at Box 8235.