Relationships between goal related threat appraisal and competitive trait anxiety were examined in a field study with 102 9- to 15-year-old male soccer players. Questionnaires assessed (a) the frequency and intensity of somatic and cognitive symptoms of competitive trait anxiety, (b) the personal importance of various goals in youth sports, (c) children's perceptions of the extent to which these goals were endangered through sport participation, and (d) self-esteem. Correlational analyses indicated significant but weak relationships between a summary appraisal of threat to important goals and the frequency of somatic and cognitive competitive trait anxiety symptoms, and a stronger relationship between summary threat and competitive trait anxiety intensity. Greater perceived threat to effort/mastery and competitive achievement goals was reported by boys with higher, rather than lower, competitive trait anxiety. Within the sample, however, a cluster analysis revealed considerable individual variation in the degree of threat perceived with respect to each of four identified goals.
Tara K. Scanlan and Rebecca Lewthwaite
This field study examined predictors of generalized and specific performance expectancies for 76 male wrestlers, ages 9 to 14 years, who participated in the first two rounds of a competitive wrestling tournament. Generalized expectancies were defined as the participants' overall expectancies for successful performance. Specific expectancies were operationalized by asking wrestlers to indicate how sure they were about winning each of their first two tournament matches. High generalized expectancies were predicted by high self-esteem, greater outcome success in the preceding tournament, and boys' perceptions of (a) greater parental and coach satisfaction with their season's performance and (b) a lack of noncontingent performance reactions by their parents. Then high generalized expectancies, along with high perceived wrestling ability and perceptions of greater adult satisfaction with the season's performance, predicted high specific expectancies for the first tournament round. High specific expectancies for the second round were predicted by high generalized expectancies and high perceived wrestling ability. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for a nomological network of wrestlers' specific performance expectancies.
Tara K. Scanlan and Rebecca Lewthwaite
This field study examined predictors of the sport enjoyment experienced by 76 male wrestlers, ages 9 to 14 years, who participated in the first two rounds of a competitive wrestling tournament. Enjoyment was operationalized as the amount of fun the boys had experienced during the wrestling season and the degree to which they liked to wrestle, Intrapersonal variables, including the participants' age and perceptions of their wrestling ability, were investigated as predictors of their sport enjoyment. Significant adult influences, including the boys' perceptions of typical parental and coach behaviors and responses to them in the sport setting, were also examined in relation to enjoyment. A stepwise multiple regression analysis indicated that younger boys, and those who perceived greater wrestling ability, enjoyed their sport participation more than did older boys and those with perceptions of lower ability, Boys who perceived (a) greater parental and coach satisfaction with their season's performance, (b) less maternal pressure and fewer negative maternal performance reactions, and (c) more positive adult sport involvement and interactions (p < .10) experienced greater enjoyment when compared with their counterparts. Together, these predictors accounted for 38% of the variation in wrestlers' enjoyment.
Tara K. Scanlan and Rebecca Lewthwaite
This field study investigated the influence and stability of individual difference and situational factors on the competitive stress experienced by 9- to 14-year-old wrestlers. Stress was assessed by the children's form of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory and was measured immediately before and after each of two consecutive tournament matches. Wrestlers' dispositions, characteristic precompetition cognitions, perceptions of significant adult influences, psychological states, self-perceptions, and competitive outcomes were examined as predictors of pre- and postmatch anxiety in separate multiple regression analyses for each tournament round. The most influential and stable predictors of prematch stress for both matches were competitive trait anxiety and personal performance expectancies, while win-loss and fun experienced during the match predicted postmatch stress for both rounds. In addition, prematch worries about failure and perceived parental pressure to participate were predictive of round 1 prematch stress. Round 1 postmatch stress levels predicted stress after round 2, suggesting some consistency in children's stress responses. In total, 61 and 35% of prematch and 41 and 32% of postmatch state anxiety variance was explained for rounds 1 and 2, respectively.
Gabriele Wulf, Rebecca Lewthwaite and Andrew Hooyman
We examined the interactive influence of normative feedback and conceptions of ability on the learning of a balance task. Ability conceptions were induced by instructions portraying the task as either an acquirable skill or reflecting an inherent ability. Bogus normative feedback about the “average” balance scores of others on a given trial suggested that participants’ performance was either above (Better groups) or below average (Worse groups). Thus, there were four groups: Inherent-Ability Better, Inherent-Ability Worse, Acquirable-Skill Better, and Acquirable-Skill Worse. Following two days of practice, learning was assessed on Day 3 in retention and dual-task transfer tests. The Better groups demonstrated more effective learning than the Worse groups. Questionnaire results revealed differences in self-related concerns between those groups. Signature size changes suggested that participants in the Worse groups perceived negative normative feedback as a threat to the self. The findings highlight the importance of motivational influences on motor learning.
Tara K. Scanlan, Rebecca Lewthwaite and Bruce L. Jackson
This field study investigated sport-related and psychological predictors of children's performance outcomes (win-loss) across two consecutive rounds of a competitive wrestling tournament. The 76 wrestlers studied were 9- to 14-year-old boys, and the sport-related variable examined involved their years of competitive wrestling experience. The psychological predictors investigated were the participants' prematch performance expectancies and their characteristic prematch cognitions including: (a) worries about failure and (b) concerns about the performance expectations and evaluative reactions of their parents and coach. The data for each round were separately analyzed by logistic regression analysis. The most influential and stable predictors of performance outcomes across both tournament rounds were competitive experience and prematch performance expectancies. In addition, characteristic failure cognitions significantly predicted win-loss in the first round of the tournament. In total, win-loss was successfully predicted in 78 and 80% of the cases for round 1 and 2, respectively, by these predictors.
Guilherme M. Cesar, Rebecca Lewthwaite and Susan M. Sigward
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of practice on performance of a running task requiring maximal speed and accurate termination. Physically active pre-pubertal boys and men ran as fast as possible and stopped at a pre-determined target location. Twenty-five trials were collected and comparisons made between first five (early) and last five (late) trials. Approach velocity, normalized approach velocity (percent of maximal sprint velocity, %Vmax), stopping distance from target, and success rate were calculated. Self-efficacy for task performance and fatigue reports were collected prior to trials. Children ran more slowly than adults in absolute terms but performed at higher relative velocity. Both groups displayed similar accuracy and percentages of successful trials across early and late practice. Adults increased approach velocity and %Vmax from early to late; children, already higher in relative maximal velocity, did not change. Self-efficacy paralleled performance findings and correlated with %Vmax and success rate; both groups reported higher self-efficacy for late compared with early. With practice, adults increased approach velocity and children did not; however, children appeared to be performing at a higher relative level from the beginning, perhaps reflecting their more substantial recent histories of similar physical activity and limiting further effects of practice.
Monica A. Kunesh, Cynthia A. Hasbrook and Rebecca Lewthwaite
Premised on an interactive socialization as construction and internalization approach, physical activity socialization experiences related to peer interactions and associated affective responses in physical activity settings were explored among eight 11- to 12-year-old girls. Three possible physical activity choices (formal sport, informal physical activity, and exercise) were considered. Three methods of data collection were employed: observation, sociometric evaluation, and interview. Physical activity socialization experiences were found to be context specific both in terms of activity type (formal sport, informal physical activity, and exercise) and social situation (home and school). Boys in physical education classes appeared to be the major source of negative peer treatment, primarily by criticizing girls’ physical skill performances and constructing them as subordinate to those of the boys. Positive or negative affective responses to peer treatment were reported to lead to the seeking or avoidance of future physical activity involvement. The type of attributions participants made for the negative treatment they received was related to their affective responses and subsequent desire to seek or avoid future activity.