Antecedents of intensity and direction dimensions of competitive anxiety as a function of skill.

Research paper by S S Hanton, G G Jones

Indexed on: 14 Feb '98Published on: 14 Feb '98Published in: Psychological reports


Described here is a follow-up and extension of the study reported by Hanton and Jones in 1995. Situational antecedents of both 'intensity' (level) and 'direction' (facilitative/debilitative) dimensions of precompetitive state anxiety in 97 elite and 114 nonelite competitive swimmers were examined. Antecedents were assessed via the modified swimming version of the PreRace Questionnaire, while cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence were measured via the modified version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 one hour before competition. Step-wise multiple regression analyses on the intensity scores indicated that cognitive anxiety in the elite group was significantly related to Perceived readiness (5.6%) and Internal environment (9.6%), while no predictors emerged in the nonelite group; scores on somatic anxiety correlated with those on Internal environment (9.4%) and Position goal (14.4%) in the elite group, and by Attitude towards previous performance (4.7%) and Internal environment (8.5%) in the nonelite group. Self-confidence was predicted by Perceived readiness in the elite group (30.3%) and the nonelite group (16.9%). In the case of the direction scores (facilitative/debilitative interpretations), no significant correlations of scores on cognitive anxiety or somatic anxiety emerged for the elite group; however, in the nonelite group the Coach influence factor predicted cognitive anxiety (4.5%) and somatic anxiety (4.9%). These findings show that common and unique antecedents of 'intensity' and 'direction' exist for swimmers as a function of their skill and also highlight the important role of the coach in the maintenance of facilitative interpretations of anxiety by nonelite performers.