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Daniel Gould, Thelma Horn and Janie Spreemann

The present study was designed to examine precompetitive and competitive anxiety patterns of junior elite wrestlers. Specifically, 458 wrestlers participating in the United States Wrestling Federation Junior National Championships rated their typical levels of anxiety at various times prior to and during competitions. The relationships between success, years wrestling experience, age, trait anxiety, and precompetitive and competitive state anxiety were examined using both univariate and regression analyses. Contrary to previous studies, no significant differences were found in precompetitive and competitive anxiety patterns between successful and less successful as well as more and less experienced wrestlers. In addition, age was not found to be related to either precompetitive or competitive anxiety. Consistent with the previous research, however, significant anxiety differences were found between high as compared to low trait anxious wrestlers. Descriptive statistics summarized across the entire sample also revealed that the wrestlers became nervous or worried in 67% of all their matches and that their nervousness sometimes helped and sometimes hindered their performance. The results were discussed in terms of individual differences, situation-specific responses to stress, and the need to employ multidimensional measures of anxiety. It was also suggested that researchers must be cautious in generalizing the findings of exploratory studies, especially when small, nonrandomized samples have been employed.

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Erin McGowan, Harry Prapavessis and Natascha Wesch

The purpose of this study was to improve understanding of the link between self-presentational concerns and competitive anxiety. Specifically, we examined (a) associations among self-presentational concerns and competitive state anxiety dimensional symptom responses using the modified Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2; Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990) and (b) whether self-presentational concerns mediate trait–state anxiety relationships. In addressing these matters, we also examined the factor structure and composition of the Self-Presentation in Sport Questionnaire (SPSQ; Wilson & Eklund, 1998). Results showed that self-presentational concerns were positively associated with intensity and frequency dimensional symptoms and negatively associated with direction symptoms. Results also showed that self-presentational concerns demonstrated consistently higher associations with the cognitive component and the intensity symptom of the CSAI-2 state measures. Results showed no support for the notion that self-presentational concerns mediate the trait–state anxiety relationship. When examining the factor structure and composition of the SPSQ, the results from two independent athlete samples support the tenability of an abbreviated 21-item four-factor model. Thus the newly constituted scale is recommended for measuring self-presentational concerns in sport.

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Philip Wilson and Robert C. Eklund

The purpose of this investigation was to examine Leary’s (1992) contention that competitive anxiety revolves around the self-presentational implications of sport competition. Intercollegiate athletes (N = 199) completed inventories assessing competitive trait anxiety and self-presentational concerns. Principal-axis factor analysis with direct oblim rotation of self-presentational concern items produced an interpretable four-factor solution accounting for 62% of the variance. These factors were interpreted to represent self-presentational concerns about Performance/Composure Inadequacies, Appearing Fatigued/Lacking Energy, Physical Appearance, and Appearing Athletically Untalented. Correlational and structural equation modeling analyses revealed that self-presentational concern was more strongly associated with cognitive rather than somatic anxiety, and that substantial portions of variance in competitive anxiety could be accounted for by self-presentational concern variables. The results of this investigation provide support for Leary’s (1992) assertion regarding the relationship between self-presentational concern and competitive anxiety.

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Graham Jones and Sheldon Hanton

Using Jones’s (1995) control model of debilitative and facilitative competitive anxiety, competitive swimmers (N = 91) were assessed on the intensity and direction of their cognitive anxiety and somatic anxiety responses one hour before an important race, and they completed scales examining outcome, performance, and process goals. It was hypothesized that there would be no difference in intensity of cognitive and somatic anxiety but that swimmers with positive expectancies of goal attainment would report their symptoms as being more facilitative. Forty-five swimmers who had set all three types of goal were divided into positive and negative/uncertain goal attainment expectancy groups for analysis. MANOVA supported the hypothesis in the case of cognitive anxiety and provided partial support in the case of somatic anxiety across all three goal types. Cognitive and somatic anxiety direction scores were the largest contributors to the significant multivariate effects. Eta-squared calculations showed that the predictions of Jones’s model were best supported in the case of performance goals.

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Owen Thomas, Ian Maynard and Sheldon Hanton

Competitive anxiety and self-confidence were examined temporally in “facilitators,” “debilitators,” and “mixed interpreters” using the modified CSAI-2 (intensity, direction, frequency). MANOVA’s (group X time-to-competition) and follow-up tests revealed no significant interactions but revealed significant main effects for both factors. Facilitators displayed increased intensities of self-confidence, more positive interpretations of cognitive and somatic symptoms, increased frequency of self-confidence, and decreased frequency of cognitive symptoms than debilitators through performance preparation. Time-to-competition effects indicated intensities of cognitive and somatic responses increased, and self-confidence decreased near competition. Directional perceptions of cognitive and somatic responses became less positive, and the frequency of these symptoms increased toward the event. Findings have implications for intervention design and timing and emphasize the importance of viewing symptoms over temporal phases.

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Bruce D. Hale and Adam Whitehouse

This study attempted to manipulate an athlete’s facilitative or debilitative appraisal (direction; Jones, 1995) of competitive anxiety through imagery-based interventions in order to study the effects on subsequent anxiety intensity (heart rate and CSAI-2) and direction (CSAI-2D; Jones & Swain, 1992). In a within-subjects’ design, 24 experienced soccer players were relaxed via progressive relaxation audiotape and then randomly underwent an imagery-based video- and audiotaped manipulation of their appraisal of taking a hypothetical gamewinning penalty kick under either a “pressure” or “challenge” appraisal emphasis. There was no significant effect for heart rate. A repeated measures MANOVA for CSAI-2 and CSAI-2D scores revealed that for both intensity and direction scores the challenge condition produced less cognitive anxiety, less somatic anxiety, and more self-confidence (all p < .001) than the pressure situation. This finding suggests that a challenge appraisal manipulation taught by applied sport psychologists might benefit athletes’ performance.

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David E. Conroy and Jonathan N. Metzler

Although self-talk and anxiety are both held to influence sport performance, little is known about the relationship between these two psychological phenomena in sport. The introject surface of a circumplex model (Structural Analysis of Social Behavior; SASB) is presented as a tool for integrating popular existing schemes for classifying self-talk in sport. Using a sample of 440 college-age men and women, the present study examined the relationship between SASB-defined patterns of state-specific self-talk (while failing, while succeeding, wished for, and feared) and three forms of situation-specific trait performance anxiety: fear of failure (FF), fear of success (FS), and sport anxiety (SA). Distinct patterns of self-talk were associated with competitive anxieties in sport; the strongest effects were associated with FF and SA, in that order, whereas FS was more weakly associated with systematic patterns of self-talk. These results are consistent with cognitive theories of anxiety and may be used to inform assessments, diagnoses, and treatments of performance anxiety problems in sport.

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Bruce D. Hale

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Kamuran Yerlikaya Balyan, Serdar Tok, Arkun Tatar, Erdal Binboga and Melih Balyan

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.

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Vikki Krane, Douglas Joyce and Jennifer Rafeld

The relationship among person factors, situational factors, and batting performance was examined during a collegiate softball tournament. Specifically, the purposes of the present study were to examine (a) cognitive and somatic anxiety and performance as related to athletes’ trait anxiety and situation criticality, and (b) the catastrophe theory prediction that somatic anxiety would differentially relate to performance depending upon the level of cognitive anxiety. Standardized performance scores and intraindividual cognitive and somatic anxiety scores were computed for each athlete (N = 11). As hypothesized, high levels of situation criticality were associated with high levels of cognitive anxiety, but somatic anxiety did not differ in the two situations. Both person and situation factors were significant predictors of cognitive and somatic anxiety; however, the more salient factor was dependent upon the measurement of anxiety (raw scores vs. standardized score). Consistent with the catastrophe theory, somatic anxiety had a different relationship with performance in high criticality situations compared to low criticality situations.