The present study examined the association between personality, competitive anxiety, somatic anxiety and physiological arousal in athletes with high and low anxiety levels. Anxiety was manipulated by means of an incentive. Fifty male participants, first, completed the Five Factor Personality Inventory and their resting electro dermal activity (EDA) was recorded. In the second stage, participants were randomly assigned to high or low anxiety groups. Individual EDAs were recorded again to determine precompetition physiological arousal. Participants also completed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and played a computer-simulated soccer match. Results showed that neuroticism was related to both CSAI-2 components and physiological arousal only in the group receiving the incentive. Winners had higher levels of cognitive anxiety and lower levels of physiological arousal than losers. On the basis of these findings, we concluded that an athlete’s neurotic personality may influence his cognitive and physiological responses in a competition.
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