This paper reports a case study of a successful cognitive behavioral intervention using performance profiling. The subject, a top-10 female racket sport player, had a problem with her temperament on court, becoming angry and frustrated in pressure situations. Performance profiling was used for three major purposes: (a) to aid the sport psychologist in identifying an appropriate psychological intervention, (b) to maximize the performer’s self-motivation to partake in and adhere to the intervention, and (c) to monitor any changes during the intervention. A multimodal stress management approach was adopted using a combination of component parts from the available packages. The performance profiling technique showed significant improvements in the performer’s ability to cope with pressure situations 3 and 6 months after the intervention.
Elizabeth Campbell and Graham Jones
This is the second in a two-part study that examined how Great Britain male wheelchair basketball players (n = 10) cognitively appraise sources of stress. The first part (Campbell & Jones, 2002) established 10 distinct general stress source dimensions. The second part (reported herein) describes how the players rated each source of stress on challenge, threat, harm, controllability, severity, and frequency. Data was collected by interviews. Five significant positive relationships, ranging from .64 to .71, were shown between the variables: challenge and controllability, harm/loss and threat, threat and severity, harm/loss and severity, and frequency and severity. The findings show the importance of obtaining information about stress source variables if researchers and practitioners are to fully understand the nature of the sources of stress experienced by elite athletes.
Elizabeth Campbell and Graham Jones
This study examined the precompetition temporal patterning of anxiety and self-confidence in wheelchair sport participants. The subjects comprised of 103 male (n = 87) and female (n = 16) wheelchair sport participants who participated at national level or above in a variety of sports. All the subjects completed a modified version of the Competitive Trait Anxiety Inventory-2 (CTAI-2) which measured three dimensions of their normal competitive anxiety response (intensity, frequency, and direction), at three time periods preceding competition (1 week, 2 hours, and 30 minutes before). The findings suggest that wheelchair sport participants show a similar precompetition anxiety response to nondisabled sport participants. However, there appears to be some differences, particularly in the intensity of somatic anxiety symptoms experienced and the reduction in self-confidence just prior to competition. The findings also provide further support for the distinction between intensity, frequency, and direction of competitive anxiety symptoms.
Sheldon Hanton and Graham Jones
This study presents the first in a series of two articles extending previous findings that elite performers, compared to nonelite performers, interpret their preperformance cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms as more facilitative than debilitating to performance (Jones, Hanton, & Swain, 1994; Jones & Swain, 1995). In-depth interview techniques were employed to investigate the cognitive skills and strategies underlying elite swimmers’ interpretations of their prerace thoughts and feelings. Participants were 10 male elite swimmers who consistently maintained facilitative interpretations. Data were drawn from verbatim transcripts and were inductively content analyzed. Four general dimensions traced the acquisition and development of the cognitive skills and strategies underlying facilitation from early competitive experiences to the present day. It was concluded that participants’ skills and strategies were acquired via natural learning experiences and various educational methods. These results extend the research literature on facilitative anxiety by identifying and clarifying the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon.
Sheldon Hanton and Graham Jones
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a multimodal intervention on swimmers debilitated by anxiety. A staggered single-subject multiple-baseline across-subjects design was used over 10 competitive races for 4 swimmers. Baseline observations on cognitive and somatic anxiety “direction” (facilitative/debilitating) scores were collected for three, four, and five races for Participants 2, 3, and 4, respectively, prior to treatment. The intervention was designed based on qualitative data from Hanton and Jones’s (1999) study and included the skills of goal setting, imagery, and self-talk. These psychological skills emerged as particularly important from Hanton and Jones’s investigation as a means of maintaining facilitative interpretations of precompetition anxiety symptoms. Preintervention, all participants reported debilitating interpretations of cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms. However, post intervention, the 3 participants who received treatment reported facilitative interpretations. Performance improvements were also evident for these swimmers. A postintervention follow-up showed that swimmers’ interpretations were still facilitative.
Elizabeth Campbell and Graham Jones
The purpose of the study was to examine the sources of stress in an international squad of elite male wheelchair basketball players (n = 10) via structured interviews. Inductive content-analysis was used to derive stress categories from the athletes’ perspective. Ten distinct general stress source dimensions emerged: preevent concerns, negative match preparation, on-court concerns, postmatch performance concerns, negative aspects major event, poor group interaction and communication, negative coaching style/behavior, relationship issues, demands or costs of wheelchair basketball, and lack of disability awareness. The findings suggest that elite wheelchair basketball players experience sources of stress relating to the whole competition process, organizational aspects of competing at a major event, communicating or relating to important others, and two dimensions that are noncompetition specific (demands or costs of wheelchair basketball and lack of disability awareness).
Graham Jones and Austin Swain
The major purpose of this study was to examine the distinction between “intensity” (i.e., level) and “direction” (i.e., interpretation of level as either debilitative or facilitative) of competitive anxiety symptoms as a function of skill level. Elite (n = 68) and nonelite (n = 65) competitive cricketers completed a modified version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2. The findings showed no difference between the two groups on the intensity of cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms, but elite performers interpreted both anxiety states as being more facilitative to performance than did the nonelite performers. No differences emerged between the groups for self-confidence. Further analyses showed that cricketers in the nonelite group who reported their anxiety as debilitative had higher cognitive anxiety intensity levels than those who reported it as facilitative, but no such differences were evident in the elite group. These findings provide further support for the distinction between intensity and direction of competitive state anxiety symptoms.
Graham Jones and Sheldon Hanton
Using Jones’s (1995) control model of debilitative and facilitative competitive anxiety, competitive swimmers (N = 91) were assessed on the intensity and direction of their cognitive anxiety and somatic anxiety responses one hour before an important race, and they completed scales examining outcome, performance, and process goals. It was hypothesized that there would be no difference in intensity of cognitive and somatic anxiety but that swimmers with positive expectancies of goal attainment would report their symptoms as being more facilitative. Forty-five swimmers who had set all three types of goal were divided into positive and negative/uncertain goal attainment expectancy groups for analysis. MANOVA supported the hypothesis in the case of cognitive anxiety and provided partial support in the case of somatic anxiety across all three goal types. Cognitive and somatic anxiety direction scores were the largest contributors to the significant multivariate effects. Eta-squared calculations showed that the predictions of Jones’s model were best supported in the case of performance goals.
Austin Swain and Graham Jones
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.