The influence of self-efficacy on physiological arousal and self-reported anxiety was examined in the first phase of this study. All 32 undergraduate females in the study performed five trials of both an easy task and a difficult task, with half of them performing the easy task first and half performing the difficult task first. A manipulation check revealed that the easy task clearly elicited higher self-efficacy than the difficult task. Individuals reported lower cognitive and somatic anxiety and higher self-confidence, as assessed with the CSAI-2, and had lower heart-rate increases when performing the easy (high-efficacious) task. After the subjects finished both the easy and difficult tasks, half of them were given a cognitive feedback manipulation suggesting that elevated arousal levels were typical responses of good competitors under stress. Contrary to predictions, the manipulation did not induce higher self-efficacy and the manipulation group did not differ from the no-manipulation group on self-reported anxiety scores or heart rates. The findings support Bandura's contention that self-efficacy mediates arousal changes and demonstrate the influence of self-efficacy on multidimensional anxiety measures, but fail to demonstrate any influence of a cognitive feedback manipulation on self-efficacy or subsequent stress responses.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Diane L. Gill, Department of Physical Education and Dance, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.