Spielberger’s trait-state anxiety theory suggests that persons high in trait anxiety have a greater tendency to perceive an ego-involving situation as threatening, and hence, they are expected to respond to this situation with elevated state anxiety (A-state). To test this hypothesis measurements of A-trait (low vs. high) as a between-subjects factor, measurements of stress level (low vs. high) as a within-subjects factor, and measurements of state anxiety, cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, self-confidence, and cognitive interference as dependent variables were made on 45 top-level soccer players. Statistical analysis revealed a significant person-situation interaction only in self-confidence. The lack of sensitivity in the state anxiety scores can be ascribed to the fact that soccer players play important games regularly and so become desensitized to precompetitive anxiety responses. A subsequent multiple regression analysis showed that task irrelevant cognitions are correlated only with cognitive anxiety and not with either self-confidence or somatic anxiety.
František Man and Iva Stuchliková are with the Faculty of Education, Department of Psychology, and Pavel Kindlmann is with the Faculty of Biological Sciences, at the University of South Bohemia, Jeronýmova 10, 371 15 České Budějovice, Czech Republic.