The Intensity and Directional Interpretation of Anxiety: Fluctuations Throughout Competition and Relationship to Performance

in The Sport Psychologist

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Joanne ButtMiami University

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Robert WeinbergMiami University

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Thelma HornMiami University

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The purposes of the present investigation were twofold: (a) to investigate the fluctuations of anxiety and self-confidence throughout competition by measuring these variables retrospectively before, during, and after competition and (b) to investigate the relationship between the intensity and directional interpretation of anxiety and perceived performance across competition. Field hockey players (N = 62) completed the modified Mental Readiness Form-Likert (MRF-2) within 30 minutes after competition using the method of retrospective recall. Results indicated significant fluctuations across competition for cognitive anxiety intensity and direction, somatic anxiety intensity, and self-confidence intensity. Results also revealed that the strongest predictors of performance across both halves were self-confidence intensity and direction and cognitive anxiety direction. These findings should have important implications for practitioners and sport psychologists because anxiety measurement and confidence are critical parts of most psychological skills training programs.

The authors are with the Department of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies, Miami University. This paper is based on a study conducted by Joanne Butt in partial fulfillment for the degree of Master of Science in Sport Studies at Miami University.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Robert Weinberg, Department of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies, Phillips Hall, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. E-mail: weinber@muohio.edu.
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