This investigation had three primary purposes: (a) investigating whether anxiety has a major debilitating effect on the performance of endurance athletes, (b) assessing whether age or sport-type differences were evident in the precompetitive state anxiety patterns of triathletes and two of their singlesport counterparts, and (c) testing the anxiety–performance hypothesis for endurance athletes using an intraindividual measure of performance. Subjects were 293 endurance athletes recruited from races in the Pacific Northwest. Results revealed that precompetitive anxiety did not impair the performance of endurance athletes. Triathletes were significantly more cognitively and somatically anxious than either runners or cyclists, and older endurance athletes were found to experience significantly less cognitive anxiety than did their younger counterparts. Results did not support the anxiety–performance hypothesis, although a significant negative correlation was found between negative thoughts during the race and performance.
Jon Hammermeister and Damon Burton are with the Division of HPERD at the University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2401.