Patterns of Self-Talk Associated with Different Forms of Competitive Anxiety

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Although self-talk and anxiety are both held to influence sport performance, little is known about the relationship between these two psychological phenomena in sport. The introject surface of a circumplex model (Structural Analysis of Social Behavior; SASB) is presented as a tool for integrating popular existing schemes for classifying self-talk in sport. Using a sample of 440 college-age men and women, the present study examined the relationship between SASB-defined patterns of state-specific self-talk (while failing, while succeeding, wished for, and feared) and three forms of situation-specific trait performance anxiety: fear of failure (FF), fear of success (FS), and sport anxiety (SA). Distinct patterns of self-talk were associated with competitive anxieties in sport; the strongest effects were associated with FF and SA, in that order, whereas FS was more weakly associated with systematic patterns of self-talk. These results are consistent with cognitive theories of anxiety and may be used to inform assessments, diagnoses, and treatments of performance anxiety problems in sport.

The authors are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, 267 Rec Hall, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.

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