The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a multimodal intervention on swimmers debilitated by anxiety. A staggered single-subject multiple-baseline across-subjects design was used over 10 competitive races for 4 swimmers. Baseline observations on cognitive and somatic anxiety “direction” (facilitative/debilitating) scores were collected for three, four, and five races for Participants 2, 3, and 4, respectively, prior to treatment. The intervention was designed based on qualitative data from Hanton and Jones’s (1999) study and included the skills of goal setting, imagery, and self-talk. These psychological skills emerged as particularly important from Hanton and Jones’s investigation as a means of maintaining facilitative interpretations of precompetition anxiety symptoms. Preintervention, all participants reported debilitating interpretations of cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms. However, post intervention, the 3 participants who received treatment reported facilitative interpretations. Performance improvements were also evident for these swimmers. A postintervention follow-up showed that swimmers’ interpretations were still facilitative.
Sheldon Hanton is with the School of Sport & Cultural Studies at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Cyncoed, Cardiff, CF2 6XD. United Kingdom. Graham Jones is with the School of Sport, Health, and Physical Education Sciences at the University of Wales Institute, Bangor, Gwynedd, LI57 2DG, United Kingdom.