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Sarah E. Williams, Jennifer Cumming and George M. Balanos

The present study investigated whether imagery could manipulate athletes’ appraisal of stress-evoking situations (i.e., challenge or threat) and whether psychological and cardiovascular responses and interpretations varied according to cognitive appraisal of three imagery scripts: challenge, neutral, and threat. Twenty athletes (M age = 20.85; SD = 1.76; 10 female, 10 male) imaged each script while heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output were obtained using Doppler echocardiography. State anxiety and self-confidence were assessed following each script using the Immediate Anxiety Measures Scale. During the imagery, a significant increase in heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output occurred for the challenge and threat scripts (p < .05). Although there were no differences in physiological response intensities for both stress-evoking scripts, these responses, along with anxiety symptoms, were interpreted as facilitative during the challenge script and debilitative during the threat script. Results support using imagery to facilitate adaptive stress appraisal.

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Martin Eubank, Dave Collins and Nick Smith

In the presence of anxiety, threatening stimuli are allocated greater processing priority by high-trait-anxious individuals (Mathews, 1993). As anxiety direction (Jones, 1995) might best account for individual differences, this investigation aimed to establish whether or not such processing priority is a function of anxiety interpretation. Anxiety facilitators and debilitators performed a modified Stroop test (Stroop, 1935) by reacting to neutral, positive, and negative word types in neutral, positive, and negative mood conditions. A significant 3-way interaction, F(4,80) = 3.95, p < .05, was evident, with facilitators exhibiting a processing bias toward positive words in positive mood conditions. The data support the contention that anxiety interpretation is an important distinguishing variable in accounting for processing bias and support the potential contribution of cognitive restructuring practices to athletic performance.

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Martin Eubank, Dave Collins and Nick Smith

Beck’s (1976) theoretical account of emotional vulnerability predicts that individuals who are vulnerable to anxiety will exhibit a cognitive processing bias for the threatening interpretation of ambiguous information. As anxiety direction (Jones, 1995) may best account for individual differences, the aim of this study was to establish whether such processing bias is a function of anxiety interpretation. Anxiety facilitators and debilitators underwent a modified Stroop test by reacting to neutral and ambiguous word types in neutral, positive, and negative mood conditions. A significant 3-way interaction, F(4, 60) = 3.02, p < .05, was evident, with the reaction time of facilitators being slowest for ambiguous words in the positive mood condition and debilitators being slowest for ambiguous words in the negative mood condition. The findings illustrate the important role that anxiety interpretation plays in the mechanism involved in the processing of ambiguous information.

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Marcus Börjesson, Carolina Lundqvist, Henrik Gustafsson and Paul Davis

-competitive feeling states and directional anxiety interpretations . Journal of Sports Sciences, 19 , 385 – 395 . PubMed ID: 11411775 doi:10.1080/026404101300149348 10.1080/026404101300149348 Jones , G. , Hanton , S. , & Swain , A.B.J. ( 1994 ). Intensity and interpretation of anxiety symptoms in elite and

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Nicholas Stanger, Ryan Chettle, Jessica Whittle and Jamie Poolton

.1037/0022-3514.85.2.348 Hanton , S. , Mellalieu , S.D. , & Hall , R. ( 2004 ). Self-confidence and anxiety interpretation: A qualitative investigation . Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5 , 477 – 495 . doi:10.1016/S1469-0292(03)00040-2 10.1016/S1469-0292(03)00040-2 Hatzigeorgiadis , A. , & Biddle , S.J. ( 2000

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Rosemary A. Arthur, Nichola Callow, Ross Roberts and Freya Glendinning

.D. , & Hall , R. ( 2004 ). Self-confidence and anxiety interpretation: A qualitative investigation . Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 5 , 477 – 495 . doi:10.1016/S1469-0292(03)00040-2 10.1016/S1469-0292(03)00040-2 Hardy , L. , Roberts , R. , Thomas , P.R. , & Murphy , S.M. ( 2010 ). Test of