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This investigation was designed to assess perceived sources of stress in junior elite wrestlers. Wrestlers (N = 458) participating in the United States Wrestling Federation Junior National Championships rated the frequency with which they typically experienced 33 sources of stress before competitions. Descriptive statistics revealed that performing up to one's ability, improving on one's last performance, participating in championship meets, not wrestling well, and losing were identified as major sources of stress. Factor analytic results showed that the 33 sources of stress loaded on three factors, including: fear of failure-feelings of inadequacy, external control-guilt, and social evaluation. Multiple regression analyses revealed that both wrestler trait anxiety and years of wrestling experience were significant predictors of the fear of failure-feelings of inadequacy factor, while trait anxiety also was found to be a significant predictor of the social evaluation factor. Although both the most and least frequently experienced sources of stress were identified in this investigation, it was concluded that large individual differences existed in perceived sources of stress. In addition, the need for replicating and extending these findings with other samples was emphasized.
The authors would like to thank Steve Combs, Executive Director of the United States Wrestling Federation, for his invaluable assistance in conducting the study, and Dr. Maureen Weiss for her assistance in the data collection. Sincere appreciation is also extended to the coaches and wrestlers who volunteered to participate in the study. Much of the study was conducted when all authors were supported by the Youth Sports Institute of the Michigan State University.