Competence Perceptions and Sources of Worry in High, Medium, and Low Competitive Trait-Anxious Young Athletes

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 State University
  • | 2 University of Oregon
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This study examined the relationship between cognitive appraisal processes and the affective characteristics of youth sport involvement using Harter's competence motivation theory as a framework. Specifically, the present study extended Passer's (1983) research on patterns of competitive trait anxiety (CTA) in young male soccer players by including female athletes and athletes involved in different sports. Boy baseball players (N = 55) and girl softball players (N = 58) completed self-report measures of CTA, self-esteem, perceived physical competence, and frequency of evaluative and performance-related worries about athletic competition. Multivariate analyses revealed that high-CTA boys reported lower levels of self-esteem and more frequent worries about their performance than did their less anxious counterparts. For the girls, no significant relationships were found between levels of competitive trait anxiety and the cognitive variables. To enhance the experiences of youth sport participants, it is essential that the contributors to, and consequences of, competitive trait anxiety be more closely examined.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert Brustad, Department of Health and Physical Education, Portland State University, Portland, OR 97207.

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