The Effect of Role Ambiguity on Competitive State Anxiety

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Leeds
  • | 2 University of Lethbridge
  • | 3 University of Western Ontario
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between role ambiguity and precompetition state anxiety (A-state). Consistent with multidimensional anxiety theory (Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990), it was hypothesized that role ambiguity would be positively related to cognitive but not to somatic A-state. Based on the conceptual model presented by Beauchamp, Bray, Eys, and Carron (2002), role ambiguity in sport was operationalized as a multidimensional construct (i.e., scope of responsibilities, role behaviors, role evaluation, and role consequences) potentially manifested in each of two contexts, offense and defense. Consistent with hypotheses, ambiguity in terms of the scope of offensive role responsibilities predicted cognitive A-state (R2 = .19). However, contrary to hypotheses, offensive role-consequences ambiguity also predicted somatic A-state (R2 = .09). Results highlight the importance of using a multidimensional approach to investigate role ambiguity in sport and are discussed in terms of both theory advancement and possible interventions.

M.R. Beauchamp is with the Institute for Sport & Exercise Sciences, Univ. of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, U.K.; S.R. Bray is with the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education, Univ. of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, T1K 3M4, Canada; M.A. Eys and A.V. Carron are with the School of Kinesiology, Univ. of Western Ontario, London, ON, N6A 3K7, Canada.

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