The present study examined the association between personality, competitive anxiety, somatic anxiety and physiological arousal in athletes with high and low anxiety levels. Anxiety was manipulated by means of an incentive. Fifty male participants, first, completed the Five Factor Personality Inventory and their resting electro dermal activity (EDA) was recorded. In the second stage, participants were randomly assigned to high or low anxiety groups. Individual EDAs were recorded again to determine precompetition physiological arousal. Participants also completed the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and played a computer-simulated soccer match. Results showed that neuroticism was related to both CSAI-2 components and physiological arousal only in the group receiving the incentive. Winners had higher levels of cognitive anxiety and lower levels of physiological arousal than losers. On the basis of these findings, we concluded that an athlete’s neurotic personality may influence his cognitive and physiological responses in a competition.
Kamuran Yerlikaya Balyan, Serdar Tok, Arkun Tatar, Erdal Binboga, and Melih Balyan
Thomas D. Raedeke and Gary L. Stein
This study examined the relationship between felt arousal, thoughts/feelings, and ski performance based on recent arousal and affect conceptualizations. An eclectic integration of these perspectives suggests that to understand the arousal-performance relationship, researchers need to examine not only a felt arousal continuum (i.e., intensity or level ranging from low to high), but also a concomitant thoughts and feelings continuum (i.e., ranging from positive to negative). Recreational slalom ski racers completed a self-report measure examining felt arousal and thoughts/feelings prior to several ski runs. Results demonstrated a significant relationship between felt arousal level, thoughts/feelings, and subjective ski performance ratings, but not for actual ski times. In contrast to the inverted-U hypothesis for subjective performance ratings, high felt arousal is not associated with poor performance ratings if it is accompanied by positive thoughts and feelings.
Yannick A. Balk, Marieke A. Adriaanse, Denise T.D. de Ridder, and Catharine Evers
Performing under high pressure is an emotional experience. Hence, the use of emotion regulation strategies may prove to be highly effective in preventing choking under pressure. Using a golf putting task, we investigated the role of arousal on declined sport performance under pressure (pilot study) and the effectiveness of emotion regulation strategies in alleviating choking under pressure (main study). The pilot study showed that pressure resulted in decreased performance and this effect was partially mediated by increased arousal. The main study, a field study, showed that whereas the choking effect was observed in the control condition, reappraisal and, particularly, distraction were effective emotion regulation strategies in helping people to cope instead of choke under pressure. These findings suggest that interventions that aim to prevent choking under pressure could benefit from including emotion regulation strategies.
Fabio E. Fontana, Oldemar Mazzardo, Comfort Mokgothu, Ovande Furtado Jr., and Jere D. Gallagher
The aim of this study was to examine the decision-making performance of experienced and inexperienced soccer players at four exercise intensities (rest, 40%, 60%, and 80% maximal aerobic power). The decision-making performance of inexperienced players was expected to demonstrate an inverted-U shape with increasing levels of exercise. For the experienced players, decision making was predicted to show no change in performance with increased exercise intensity. Thirty-two adult soccer players (16 experienced, 16 inexperienced) were asked to answer seven decision-making questions as quickly and accurately as possible for each exercise intensity. Results indicated that exercise does not affect the accuracy of decision making; however, the speed of decision making for experienced and inexperienced players improved with increased exercise intensity. These results suggest that physiologically induced arousal only affects speed of decision making.
Anne Beuter and Joan L. Duda
The purpose of this interdisciplinary study was to assess the impact of arousal on motor performance by examining the kinematic characteristics of a stepping motion in high and low arousal conditions on 9 subjects. Raw data were recorded from a rotary shutter video camera and digitized automatically by interfacing the videomotion analyzer with the digitizing board of a microcomputer. Three-dimensional orbital plots of the hip, knee, and ankle angle covariations revealed that the subjects used two different strategies to perform the skill. Phase plane analyses revealed a tight coupling between joint position and velocity in both conditions for the hip and the knee. Differences in movement kinematics between low and high arousal conditions were most visible in the ankle joint whose phase planes displayed an increased number of self-crossings (loops) in the high arousal condition. It was suggested that under high arousal, what was once automatic and smooth in terms of the ankle joint now comes under more volitional control, which is less smooth and efficient. Practical implications of the present study are suggested.
Vicki Ebbeck and Maureen R. Weiss
Two issues regarding the arousal-performance relationship in sport were addressed in this study: the relationship between task complexity, optimal arousal, and maximal performance, and the appropriateness of using various measures of performance. Data were collected from high school athletes (n=51) across four track and field meets. State anxiety was obtained prior to each performance and three performance measures were obtained (event results, and quality of performance evaluated by the athlete and by the coach). Results indicated that the three performance measures were not equally related to A-state, suggesting that the relationship between arousal and performance results in a different description depending upon the performance measure that is used. Furthermore, degree of task complexity could not be distinguished across various track and field events. When individual events were used to examine the arousal-performance/task complexity relationship, results revealed that level of A-state needed for maximal performance could not be differentiated for specific events, nor could it be determined for above average, average, or below average performances on any one event.
James G. Hollandsworth Jr and Gary E. Jones
This study was designed to investigate runners' perceptions of arousal and awareness of physiological responding before and after a 20-kilometer (12.4- mile) race. Participants (N = 98) completed pre- and postquestionnaires that included measures of awareness of physiological responding and self-defined states of activation and arousal. In order to identify those variables related to performance, the finishers were divided into three groups: fast, moderate, and slow. A discriminant analysis revealed that miles run in training each week, resting pulse rate, and weight were the best predictors of group membership. Of the several psychological variables, only prerace tension discriminated between the groups, with the faster runners reporting themselves as more fearful and “clutched-up” before the race. In terms of pre-post physiological and psychological effects, it was found that running 20 kilometers resulted in a significant, increased awareness of physiological responding, increased feelings of being tired and relaxed, and decreased feelings of tension and energy. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for future research.
Robert M. Nideffer
Joshua I. Newman
In this coda, I consider the oncoming and already-present “crises” (see Giardina & Laurendeau, this issue) which threaten to unsettle the Enlightenment (and its hermeneutic legacies) substrata scholars of sport and the active body rest their work upon. In so doing, I aim to take up a number of the questions posited by the guest editors in their call for papers for this edition. I look back on the research and research acts that have come to hold sway in our field to reflect upon what the contents of this special issue might tell us about the politics of evidence, knowledge, and research action within such a state of metaphysical disorientation. I do so with this question in mind: what if these epistemological and ontological bases—the very axioms of intellectual reason and the pursuit of knowledge—no longer carried (much) value? What if the institutions which house our work no longer privileged the very foundational metaphysics—Enlightenment axioms of inquiry and reason—upon which our endeavors are hoisted? In short, what would sociocultural inquiries of the sporting and active body beyond Enlightenment look like?
John H. Kerr, Cecilia K. F. Au, and Koenraad J. Lindner
As part of a sport and exercise participation questionnaire, samples of Hong Kong high school students (n = 1,496) and high school students entering university (n = 862) completed the Motivational Style Profile (MSP; 4). In addition, 1,493 high school and 848 university entrants completed the MSP-SE, a sport and exercise version of the MSP. Students also completed six extra items related to general life motivational orientations (LMOs) and one other item relating to the frequency of their sport and exercise participation. Based on their answers to this latter item, students were divided into inactive, active, and very active groups and their metamotivational profiles tested for differences. MANOVA techniques produced several significant differences among activity groups in metamotivational dominance and state balance dimensions. The results are presented, and then they are discussed in terms of their implications for sport and exercise provision in high school, university, and more general contexts.