A Theoretical Framework for Structuring the Content of Competitive Worry in Ice Hockey

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John G.H. Dunn University of Alberta

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Many competitive sport anxiety researchers have examined the degree to which athletes worry before or during competition. Little attention has been paid, however, to establishing a conceptual framework for structuring the content of competitive worry. The main purpose of this study was to examine the latent dimensionality of competitive worry in intercollegiate ice hockey (N= 178) using a conceptual framework based on two multidimensional anxiety theories developed by Endler (1983) and Hackfort (1986). Multidimensional scaling and factor-analytic results revealed that competitive worry in ice hockey can be structured around a combination of four potential content domains relating to athletes’ fear of failure, negative social evaluation, injury or physical danger, and the unknown. These constructs were congruent with the situational anxiety dimensions proposed by Endler and Hackfort. Discussion focuses on the characteristic features of the four worry domains and the extent to which athletes were predisposed to experiencing each type of worry.

John Dunn is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2H9.

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