Relationships between Sport Achievement Orientation and Competitive State Anxiety

in The Sport Psychologist

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Austin SwainLoughborough University

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Graham JonesLoughborough University

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This study examined the relationship between sport achievement orientation and cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence in a sample of male (n=60) track and field athletes. Subjects responded to the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) on five occasions during the precompetition period and also completed the Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ). Stepwise multiple-regression analyses were employed in order to determine whether any of the SOQ subscales emerged as significant predictors of the CSAI-2 subscale scores. The dominant predictor to emerge for each anxiety subcomponent was the competitiveness subscale. The subjects were then dichotomized into high and low groups of competitiveness by means of the median-split technique. Two-way analyses of variance revealed significant group by time-to-competition interactions for both cognitive and somatic anxiety. In the case of cognitive anxiety, the high competitive group exhibited no change across time; the low competitive group showed a progressive increase as the competition neared. Findings for somatic anxiety revealed that the low competitive group reported an earlier elevation in the somatic response. Significant main effects of both time-to-event and group (but no interaction) were found for self-confidence. The findings revealed that the high competitive group, although reporting higher levels of self-confidence throughout the experimental period, reported reduced self-confidence on the day of competition; in the low competitive group, self-confidence remained stable. These results suggest that the precompetition temporal patterning of the multidimensional anxiety subcomponents differ as a function of competitiveness.

A. Swain and G. Jones are with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, England.

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