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Laura Yan Lan and Diane L. Gill

The influence of self-efficacy on physiological arousal and self-reported anxiety was examined in the first phase of this study. All 32 undergraduate females in the study performed five trials of both an easy task and a difficult task, with half of them performing the easy task first and half performing the difficult task first. A manipulation check revealed that the easy task clearly elicited higher self-efficacy than the difficult task. Individuals reported lower cognitive and somatic anxiety and higher self-confidence, as assessed with the CSAI-2, and had lower heart-rate increases when performing the easy (high-efficacious) task. After the subjects finished both the easy and difficult tasks, half of them were given a cognitive feedback manipulation suggesting that elevated arousal levels were typical responses of good competitors under stress. Contrary to predictions, the manipulation did not induce higher self-efficacy and the manipulation group did not differ from the no-manipulation group on self-reported anxiety scores or heart rates. The findings support Bandura's contention that self-efficacy mediates arousal changes and demonstrate the influence of self-efficacy on multidimensional anxiety measures, but fail to demonstrate any influence of a cognitive feedback manipulation on self-efficacy or subsequent stress responses.

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Shawn M. Arent, Daniel M. Landers, Kathleen S. Matt and Jennifer L. Etnier

The purpose of this study was to examine the dose-response gradient of exercise-induced affective change and the role of the stress response as a contributing mechanism. Male and female participants (N = 31) completed three different resistance training protocols (40%, 70%, and 100% of 10-repetition maximum [RM]) and a no-treatment control condition. Affective responses were assessed immediately before and at 0–5, 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes postexercise. Salivary cortisol and heart rate (HR) responses were also assessed during each condition. As predicted, moderate intensity resistance training generally produced the greatest improvements in affect (p < .05). HR and cortisol accounted for as much as 27.3% and 5.4% of the affective variance, respectively. Findings support a curvilinear dose-response relationship between intensity and affective responses, with moderate intensity training resulting in immediate, large, and enduring affective benefits. Results also suggest that moderate activation of the stress response positively influences exercise-induced affective change.

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W. Jack Rejeski, Edward Gregg, Amy Thompson and Michael Berry

In this investigation, we examined the role of acute aerobic exercise (AE) in buffering physiological responses to mental stress. Twelve trained cyclists participated in three counterbalanced treatment conditions on separate days: attention control, light exercise (50% of VO2max for 30 min), and heavy exercise (80% of VO2max for 60 min). After a 30-min rest period following each condition, subjects completed a modified Stroop task. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were monitored for (a) baseline responses, (b) task reactivity, and (c), 5 min of recovery following the stressor. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) revealed that reactivity was attenuated by both heavy- and light-exercise conditions as compared to responses in the control condition. Moreover, heavy exercise was more effective in reducing MAP reactivity than light exercise. Systolic BP during the task was significantly higher in the control and light-exercise conditions than following heavy exercise; diastolic BP was significantly higher in the control condition than in either exercise condition. There were no significant effects for HR. These results suggest that there is a dose-response relationship between acute AE and the attenuation of psychophysiological reactivity during stress.

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Nicholas D. Gilson, Caitlin Hall, Angela Renton, Norman Ng and William von Hippel

office environment at our laboratory. We also compared hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis stress response via salivary cortisol samples taken at the start and end of each workday, based on the rationale that the magnitude of the typical diurnal decrease in cortisol between these 2 time points was

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Zenzi Huysmans and Damien Clement

risk for athletic injury ( Williams & Andersen, 1998 ). As outlined by Williams and Andersen’s ( 1998 ) stress-injury model, history of stressors, coping resources, and personality factors will moderate the stress response to a potentially stressful situation and subsequently alter susceptibility to

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Benjamin James and David Collins

A qualitative investigation was conducted to identify sources of stress and the self-presentational mechanism that may underpin them during competition. Twenty athletes described factors they perceived as stressful during competition. Content analysis revealed eight general sources of stress, including significant others, competitive anxiety and doubts, perceived readiness, and the nature of the competition (e.g., importance). Two thirds (67.3%) of all stress sources appeared to heighten the athletes’ need to present themselves in a favorable way to the audience. Factors that increased perceived likelihood of poor personal performance lowered the athletes’ ability to convey a desired image to their audience. Social evaluation and self-presentation was also identified as a general source of stress in its own right. These findings suggest that (a) these athletes were sensitive about the impressions people form of them during competition, and (b) stress responses maybe triggered by factors that primarily influence the self-presentational implications of performance.

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Melinda Frey

Research has demonstrated that coaches experience stress because of the nature of their job and that stress can affect their physical and mental well-being (Richman, 1992; Wang & Ramsey, 1998). The purpose of the present study was to better understand coaches’ experiences with stress, the perceived effects of stress on their coaching performance, and their coping strategies. A semistructured interview approach was used with 10 NCAA Division I male and female head coaches. The five major themes that characterized the coaches’ experiences were contextual/conditional factors, sources of stress, responses and effects of stress, managing stress, and sources of enjoyment. The results are discussed in relation to Smith’s (1986) cognitive-affective model of stress. Opportunities for future research are suggested, and implications for practitioners who want to help coaches manage the stress of their profession are offered.

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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.

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Candace M. Hogue, Mary D. Fry, Andrew C. Fry and Sarah D. Pressman

Research in achievement goal perspective theory suggests that the creation of a caring/task-involving (C/TI) climate results in more advantageous psychological and behavioral responses relative to an ego-involving (EI) climate; however, research has not yet examined the physiological consequences associated with psychological stress in relation to climate. Given the possible health and fitness implications of certain physiological stress responses, it is critical to understand this association. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine whether an EI climate procures increases in the stress-responsive hormone cortisol, as well as negative psychological changes, following the learning of a new skill, compared with a C/TI climate. Participants (n = 107) were randomized to a C/TI or an EI climate in which they learned how to juggle for 30 min over the course of 2 hr. Seven salivary cortisol samples were collected during this period. Results indicated that EI participants experienced greater cortisol responses after the juggling session and significantly greater anxiety, stress, shame, and self-consciousness relative to C/TI participants. In contrast, the C/TI participants reported greater enjoyment, effort, self-confidence, and interest and excitement regarding future juggling than the EI participants. These findings indicate that motivational climates may have a significant impact on both the physiological and psychological responses of participants.

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Edmund O. Acevedo and Aaron L. Slusher

The relationship between stress and disease, in particular cardiovascular disease, has long been recognized, whereas the study of the physiological mechanisms that explain this link has only more recently received attention. The acute response to stress is generally thought to be a critically important adaptation designed to activate the system in preparation to cope with the stressor. However, prolonged stimulation of the system (acute and chronic) can lead to deleterious adaptations including the release of inflammatory cytokines (small proteins important in cell signaling) that play a critical role in the development of atherosclerosis. Scientists have therefore used a breadth of protocols and methods to identify the complexity of our fight-or-flight response and demonstrate the synergy between perception, the stress response, physical activity, and health. In addition, the critical assessment of cellular health, the gut microbiome, and genetic polymorphisms have further advanced our understanding of additional therapeutic targets against CVD.