Emotional Labeling and Competitive Anxiety in Preparation and Competition

in The Sport Psychologist

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Stephen D. MellalieuUniversity of Wales Swansea, UK

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Sheldon HantonUniversity of Wales Institute Cardiff, UK

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Graham JonesUniversity of Wales Bangor, UK

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The purpose of this study was to extend the work of Jones and Hanton (2001) by examining differences in affective states of performers who reported facilitating or debilitating interpretations of symptoms associated with precompetitive anxiety. Competitive athletes (N = 229) completed state and trait versions of the CSAI-2 (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990), including intensity and direction subscales (Jones & Swain, 1992) and an exploratory measure of precompetitive affective responses in preparation and competition. “Facilitators” reported significantly greater positive labeling of affective experiences than “debilitators,” while cognitive interpretations of symptoms were reported to change with regard to preparation for and actual performance. The findings further support the need to examine the labeling and measurement of precompetitive affective states.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Stephen D. Mellalieu, Department of Sports Science, University of Wales Swansea, Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom. E-mail: s.d.mellalieu@swan.ac.uk. Sheldon Hanton is with the School of Sport, PE, and Recreation at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. Graham Jones is with the Institute for the Psychology of Elite Performance, School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Sciences at the University of Wales Bangor, UK.
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