We present two novel tests of Wegner’s (1994) theory of ironic processes of mental control using a hockey penalty-shooting task (Study 1) and a dart throwing task (Study 2). In Study 1 we aimed to address a significant limitation of ironic effects research in a performance setting by differentiating nonironic performance error from specifically ironic performance error. When instructed not to miss in a specific direction, anxious performers did so a significantly greater number of times; importantly, there was no difference in nonironic error, which provides the first specific support for Wegner’s theory in a performance setting. In Study 2, we present the first examination of the precision of ironic errors. When anxious, participants performed not only more ironically but also performed more precisely in the to-be-avoided zone than when they were not anxious. We discuss the results in the context of the importance of specific instructions in coaching environments.
Tim Woodman, Matthew Barlow, and Recep Gorgulu
Michael W. Passer
The competitive trait anxiety of 316 male youth soccer participants was assessed prior to the start of a season. Players' performance expectancies, anticipated affective reactions to success-failure, expectations of criticism for failure, performance- and evaluation-related worries, perceived competence, and self-esteem also were recorded. The responses of players in the upper (n = 79) and lower (n = 84) competitive trait-anxiety quartiles indicated that, as predicted, high-anxious players expected to play less well and experience greater shame, upset, and more frequent criticism from parents and coaches in the event of poor performance. Even when these expectancies were controlled, high-anxious players worried more frequently than low-anxious players about not playing well, losing, and being evaluated by parents, coaches, and teammates. No between-group differences existed in players' self-perceived athletic competence or in their ability as rated by coaches. Competitive trait anxiety was weakly related to self-esteem. The findings support the general hypothesis that fear of failure and fear of evaluation are significant sources of threat in competitive-trait-anxious children.
Robert Brustad Portland and Maureen R. Weiss
This study examined the relationship between cognitive appraisal processes and the affective characteristics of youth sport involvement using Harter's competence motivation theory as a framework. Specifically, the present study extended Passer's (1983) research on patterns of competitive trait anxiety (CTA) in young male soccer players by including female athletes and athletes involved in different sports. Boy baseball players (N = 55) and girl softball players (N = 58) completed self-report measures of CTA, self-esteem, perceived physical competence, and frequency of evaluative and performance-related worries about athletic competition. Multivariate analyses revealed that high-CTA boys reported lower levels of self-esteem and more frequent worries about their performance than did their less anxious counterparts. For the girls, no significant relationships were found between levels of competitive trait anxiety and the cognitive variables. To enhance the experiences of youth sport participants, it is essential that the contributors to, and consequences of, competitive trait anxiety be more closely examined.
Louise Davis and Sophia Jowett
The present preliminary study aimed to develop and examine the psychometric properties of a new sport-specific self-report instrument designed to assess athletes’ and coaches’ attachment styles. The development and initial validation comprised three main phases. In Phase 1, a pool of items was generated based on pre-existing self-report attachment instruments, modified to reflect a coach and an athlete’s style of attachment. In Phase 2, the content validity of the items was assessed by a panel of experts. A final scale was developed and administered to 405 coaches and 298 athletes (N = 703 participants). In Phase 3, confirmatory factor analysis of the obtained data was conducted to determine the final items of the Coach-Athlete Attachment Scale (CAAS). Confirmatory factor analysis revealed acceptable goodness of ft indexes for a 3-first order factor model as well as a 2-first order factor model for both the athlete and the coach data, respectively. A secure attachment style positively predicted relationship satisfaction, while an insecure attachment style was a negative predictor of relationship satisfaction. The CAAS revealed initial psychometric properties of content, factorial, and predictive validity, as well as reliability.
The purpose of this investigation was to utilize a multidimensional measure of anxiety and a more sensitive intraindividual performance measure to evaluate the relationship between anxiety and performance. Three hypotheses were tested. First, cognitive anxiety is more consistently and strongly related to performance than is somatic anxiety. Second, somatic anxiety demonstrates an inverted-U relationship with performance, whereas self-confidence and performance exhibit a positive linear relationship and cognitive anxiety and performance exhibit a negative one. Finally, short duration and high and low complexity events demonstrate stronger relationships between somatic anxiety and performance than do long duration or moderate complexity events. Two samples of swimmers completed the CSAI-2 prior to competition, and performance data were obtained from meet results. Correlational and multiple regression analyses generally supported Hypotheses 1 and 3, while polynomial trend analyses on standardized CSAI-2 scores confirmed trends predicted in Hypothesis 2. Overall, these results not only revealed that improved instrumentation allows demonstration of consistent anxiety-performance relationships, but they also provided additional construct validity for the CSAI-2.
Jeffrey J. Milroy, Stephen Hebard, Emily Kroshus, and David L. Wyrick
feel emotions attributable to an anxious attachment style may feel somewhat conflicted when considering SRC reporting. While one might hypothesize that the anxiously attached athlete would exaggerate their symptoms to gain proximity to coach, the athlete may also be aware of consequences to
Jon Hammermeister and Damon Burton
This exploratory investigation examined the value of using Lazarus’ (1991; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) stress model, (i.e., primary appraisal, secondary appraisal, and perceived coping) to identify the antecedents of cognitive and somatic state anxiety for endurance athletes. This study also assessed whether endurance athletes with qualitatively similar levels of cognitive and somatic anxiety demonstrate differential antecedent profiles. Participants were 175 triathletes, 70 distance runners, and 70 cyclists who completed stress-related questionnaires 1-2 days prior to competition and the CSAI-2 approximately one hour before competing. Results revealed that all three components of Lazarus’ stress model predicted both cognitive and somatic state anxiety better than did individual model components. Moreover, perceived threat accounted for a greater percentage of variance in cognitive and somatic anxiety than did perceived control or coping resources. Cluster analyses revealed distinct antecedent profiles for high, moderate, low, and “repressed” anxious endurance athletes, suggesting that multiple antecedent profiles may exist for highly anxious athletes in endurance sports.
Mark R. Wilson, Greg Wood, and Samuel J. Vine
The current study sought to test the predictions of attentional control theory (ACT) in a sporting environment. Fourteen experienced footballers took penalty kicks under low- and high-threat counterbalanced conditions while wearing a gaze registration system. Fixations to target locations (goalkeeper and goal area) were determined using frame-by-frame analysis. When anxious, footballers made faster first fixations and fixated for significantly longer toward the goalkeeper. This disruption in gaze behavior brought about significant reductions in shooting accuracy, with shots becoming significantly centralized and within the goalkeeper’s reach. These findings support the predictions of ACT, as anxious participants were more likely to focus on the “threatening” goalkeeper, owing to an increased influence of the stimulus-driven attentional control system.
Ece Bekaroglu and Özlem Bozo
The purpose of the current study was to investigate the relationship between attachment styles, emotion regulation strategies, and their possible effects on health-promoting behaviors among those who participate (N = 109) versus those who do not participate in extreme sports (N = 202). Multiple mediation analyses were conducted to test the hypotheses. Different nonadaptive emotion regulation strategies mediated the relationship between insecure attachment styles and health-promoting behaviors in two groups of the current study. In the extreme sports group, lack of awareness about emotions and lack of goals while dealing with negative emotions mediated the relationship between anxious attachment style and health-promoting behaviors; and lack of goals while dealing with negative emotions mediated the relationship between avoidant attachment style and health-promoting behaviors. In participants who do not engage in extreme sports, lack of clarity about emotions mediated the relationship between anxious attachment style and health-promoting behaviors. Findings and their implications were discussed in the light of the literature.
Peter R. Giacobbi Jr. and Robert S. Weinberg
The purposes of the present investigation were to examine the coping responses of different subgroups of athletes (e.g., high and low trait anxious athletes), and to assess the consistency of athlete’s coping behaviors across situations. Two-hundred and seventy-three athletes completed the Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS) by Smith, Smoll, & Schutz (1990) and coping assessments in trait and state versions of the sport adapted COPE (MCOPE) by Crocker and Graham (1995). The state coping measures assessed coping responses of situations for which the athletes actually experienced. The results of three separate, doubly multivariate, repeated measures, MANOVA’s showed that high trait anxious athletes responded to stressful situations using different coping behaviors (e.g., denial, wishful thinking, and self-blame) than the low trait anxious athletes. In addition, coping appears to be more stable than situationally variable as Pearson correlational coefficients computed between the three measures ranged from 0.53 to 0.80. The results are discussed with regard to theoretical, research, and applied issues.