This study assessed the multimodal effects of electromyographic biofeedback on highly trait-anxious subjects, boys who scored in the upper quartile of the Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT). Subjects participated in a bogus sport competitive tournament and participated individually in six laboratory sessions that consisted of a practice session and five matches. Each session comprised an adaptation period and three games separated by three rest periods. Biofeedback or placebo condition was administered during the rest periods. Frontalis EMG, heart rate, and respiratory rate were measured at the end of a rest period and immediately before every game (i.e., stress periods). State anxiety (STAIC; Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970) was measured before every game, and game performance was also recorded. Results from a MANOVA combining the three physiological variables revealed significant variations between rest and stress periods but no significant group differences. Results from univariate repeated measures ANCOVAs on all dependent variables revealed that the biofeedback group was superior to the placebo group in reducing frontalis EMG both during rest periods and in the general competitive setting. Results support the specificity of single-system biofeedback training and are discussed in light of the discriminative/motor skills model and the trophotropic rebiasing model.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Marc R. Blais, Laboratory for Social Psychology, Dept. of Psychology, University of Quebec at Montreal, Montreal, P.Q., Canada, H3C 3P8.