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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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Tim Woodman and Lew Hardy

We (Hardy, Woodman, & Carrington, 2004) recently proposed an innovative segmental quadrant analysis for exploring the role of self-confidence within a higher-order catastrophe model framework. Using this exploratory analysis, we found initial support for the main hypothesis, namely that the maximum interaction effect size between cognitive anxiety and somatic anxiety would be located at a lower level along the somatic anxiety continuum for conditions of low self-Cong compared to conditions of high self-confidence. In the present issue of this journal, Tenenbaum and Becker (2005) offer a critique of this study. In formulating their critique they have employed four principal approaches: (a) a largely indiscriminate critique of catastrophe model research as a whole; (b) a more specific critique of the method and analysis employed in our study; (c) a misrepresentation of our own work and that of previous authors; and (d) abundant confusion and irrelevancy. We address each of these issues in turn.

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Thomas Finkenzeller, Sabine Würth, Michael Doppelmayr, and Günter Amesberger

alternating low to moderate physical load would lead to a fluctuating decrease of reaction time induced through the changing level of physiological arousal during exercise and would maintain the level of the last interference measurement during exercise in the following postexercise blocks. Based on the

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Deborah L. Feltz and Denise A. Mugno

The present investigation was designed to replicate and extend the Feltz (1982) study of the causal elements in Bandura's (1977) theory of self-efficacy. Path analysis techniques were employed to investigate the predictions based on Bandura's model of self-efficacy, along with the additional influence of autonomic perception on the approach/avoidance behavior of female college students (N = 80) attempting a modified-back dive. The Bandura model predicted a reciprocal relationship between self-efficacy and back-diving performance, and between self-efficacy and physiological arousal (heart rate). It was also predicted that autonomic perception was a better predictor of self-efficacy than was physiological arousal, but not better than previous back-diving performance. Additionally, self-efficacy was hypothesized to be the mediator of past performance accomplishments, physiological arousal, and autonomic perception on back-diving performance. Bandura's model was tested against a “full” model that included performance, autonomic perception, and actual physiological arousal, along with self-efficacy as direct causal influences of back-diving performance. Results provided greater support for the full model. Although one's self-efficacy was the major predictor of performance on Trial 1, subjects' heart rates also significantly predicted performance on Trial 1. After Trial 1, back-diving performance on a previous trial was the major predictor of performance on the next trial. Furthermore, one's perception of autonomic arousal was a significant influence on self-efficacy but not on performance. Previous back-diving performance, however, was a better predictor of self-efficacy than autonomic perception. No reciprocal relationship was found between self-efficacy and physiological arousal. Moreover, the full model explained more performance variance than did the Bandura model.

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Lee J. Moore, Samuel J. Vine, Mark R. Wilson, and Paul Freeman

Competitive situations often hinge on one pressurized moment. In these situations, individuals’ psychophysiological states determine performance, with a challenge state associated with better performance than a threat state. But what can be done if an individual experiences a threat state? This study examined one potential solution: arousal reappraisal. Fifty participants received either arousal reappraisal or control instructions before performing a pressurized, single-trial, motor task. Although both groups initially displayed cardiovascular responses consistent with a threat state, the reappraisal group displayed a cardiovascular response more reflective of a challenge state (relatively higher cardiac output and/or lower total peripheral resistance) after the reappraisal manipulation. Furthermore, despite performing similarly at baseline, the reappraisal group outperformed the control group during the pressurized task. The results demonstrate that encouraging individuals to interpret heightened physiological arousal as a tool that can help maximize performance can result in more adaptive cardiovascular responses and motor performance under pressure.

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Carole Castanier, Christine Le Scanff, and Tim Woodman

Sensation seeking has been widely studied when investigating individual differences in the propensity for taking risks. However, risk taking can serve many different goals beyond the simple management of physiological arousal. The present study is an investigation of affect self-regulation as a predictor of risk-taking behaviors in high-risk sport. Risk-taking behaviors, negative affectivity, escape self-awareness strategy, and sensation seeking data were obtained from 265 high-risk sportsmen. Moderated hierarchical regression analysis revealed significant main and interaction effects of negative affectivity and escape self-awareness strategy in predicting risk-taking behaviors: high-risk sportsmen’s negative affectivity leads them to adopt risk-taking behaviors only if they also use escape self-awareness strategy. Furthermore, the affective model remained significant when controlling for sensation seeking. The present study contributes to an in-depth understanding of risk taking in high-risk sport.

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Tara Edwards and Lew Hardy

This study examines intensity and direction of competitive state anxiety symptoms, and the interactive influence of anxiety subcomponents upon netball performance. Netball players (N = 45) completed the modified Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and a retrospective performance measure over a season, utilizing an intraindividual design. The modified CSAI-2 includes a direction scale assessing the facilitative or debilitative interpretation of the original intensity symptoms. Although the facilitative influence of anxiety upon performance did not emerge directly through the direction scale, a significant interaction emerged from the two-factor Cognitive Anxiety × Physiological Arousal quadrant analyses, suggesting that anxiety may enhance performance, as proposed by catastrophe model predictions. Findings also highlighted the importance of self-confidence for possible inclusion in higher order catastrophe models.

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Tim Woodman and Paul A. Davis

The role of repression in the incidence of ironic errors was investigated on a golf task. Coping styles of novice golfers were determined using measures of cognitive anxiety and physiological arousal. Following baseline putts, participants (n = 58) performed a competition putt with the opportunity to win UK£50 (approx. US$100). Before completing the competition putt participants were instructed to “land the ball on the target, but be particularly careful not to over-shoot the target.” The distance the ball traveled past the hole formed the measure of ironic effects. Probing of the coping style × condition interaction, F(2, 41) = 6.53, p < .005, revealed that only the repressors incurred a significant increase in ironic error for the competition putt. This suggests that the act of repressing anxiety has a detrimental performance effect.

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Marc V. Jones

Emotions play a central role in sport performance. Accordingly, it is important that athletes are able to draw on a range of strategies to enhance emotional control. The present paper outlines a number of strategies based on Lazarus’ cognitive-motivational-relational theory of emotion. Strategies are outlined that aim to change cognitions, resulting in either a more appropriate emotional response or a suppression of the expression of emotion and any maladaptive behavioral consequences. These techniques comprise self-statement modification, imagery, socratic dialogue, corrective experiences, self-analysis, didactic approach, storytelling metaphors and poetry, reframing, cognitive paradox, and use of problem-solving skills. Furthermore, given the changes in physiological arousal accompanying certain emotions, it is also suggested that general arousal control strategies could play an important role in emotional control.

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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.