Intensity and direction dimensions of competitive state anxiety and relationships with performance.

Research paper by G G Jones, A A Swain, L L Hardy

Indexed on: 01 Dec '93Published on: 01 Dec '93Published in: Journal of sports sciences


This study examined relationships between intensity and direction dimensions of competitive state anxiety, and also relationships with beam performance in a sample of female gymnasts. The 48 gymnasts, whose ages ranged from 14 to 16 years, competed in a beam competition and were divided, via the median split technique, into poor performance and good performance groups. All the subjects completed a modified version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) 10 min prior to performance. This inventory included the original intensity scale plus a direction scale in which subjects rated the degree to which the experienced intensity of each symptom was either facilitative of debilitative to subsequent beam performance. Analyses of variance showed no significant group differences on any of the CSAI-2 sub-component intensity scores, or on somatic anxiety and self-confidence direction scores. However, the good performance group reported their cognitive anxiety intensity as being more facilitating and less debilitating to performance than the poor performance group. Stepwise multiple-regression analyses showed that the only significant predictor of beam performance was self-confidence intensity. These findings support the proposal that sports performers' directional perceptions of their anxiety symptoms may provide further understanding of the competitive state anxiety response, and also emphasize the importance of self-confidence in predicting performance.