The Effects of Imagery on Female College Swimmers’ Perceptions of Anxiety

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research & Education Corporation
  • 2 The University of Nebraska
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Some athletes perceive competitive anxiety as negative and detrimental to performance while it invigorates and excites others. Since perceptions of anxiety impact motor performance, it is important to develop techniques by which perceptions can be modified. The aims of this study were to determine the efficacy of a single imagery session in: (a) modifying perceptions of anxiety from negative to positive, and (b) reducing precompetitive state anxiety levels. Using a switched replication design, Murray’s (1989) Competitive Anxiety Perception Scale (CAPS) and the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990) were administered to 40 female intercollegiate swimmers weekly over the course of 5 weeks. Following random exposure to imagery, nonsignificant changes on the scales of the CSAI-2 (cognitive [F{1, 39} = .30, p > .05], somatic [F{1, 39} = 0.72, p > .05], self-confidence [F{1, 39} = 2.93, p > .05]), and significant improvements on the CAPS as positive (F[1, 39] = 19.60, p < .01) were observed. Results suggest that perceptions of anxiety may be modified by imagery, which could aid performance.

Stephen J. Page is with the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, NJ 07052. Wesley Sime and Kelly Nordell are with the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588.

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