Discuss - Anxiety in Sport

PSYCH1010 Inquiry Project Outline

Is there an optimal level of anxiety for competing in sport?

Our group delegated areas/topics to serve as starting points. We established a mutual understanding that these were guidelines and that each member could extend their research beyond their assigned role.

Original Delegated Roles
 Intro/History- Chirag
 Hypotheses- Lisa
 Anxiety Tests- Francesa/Leo
 Case Studies/Interviews- Francesa
 Experiments-Kelly/Leo/Lisa/Chirag
 Potential areas of interest:
1. Male/Female
2. Sporting Level
3. Age
4. Sport-specific (ex. aesthetic/individual/team)

Chirag Shah

Role So Far: Finding information and creating an outline for the introduction
The introduction will consist of three short videos that are related to anxiety in sports; in light of the Olympics in Sochi. These videos will allow the writer to get a sense of how broad the topic actually is. Furthermore, this will provide the writer with a few examples of how athletes cope with anxiety, which would help write a captivating introduction and/or conclusion.

Video Sources:
Does sex affect athletic performance?

Does music affect athletic performance?

Why do we get nervous?

Eysenck, M. W., Calvo, M. G. (2008). Anxiety and performance: The processing efficacy theory. Cognition & Emotion. 6(6), 409-434.
This scholarly, scientific article describes what leads to anxiety and how it effects performance. The article also provides an in depth analysis of how anxiety causes “worry”. It concludes that anxiety impairs efficiency more so than effectiveness.

Zvolensky, M. J., Lejuez, C. W., & Eifert, G. H. (2000). Prediction and control: operational definitions for the experimental analysis of anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38(7), 653-663.
It is essential for the author to operationally define anxiety in the introduction .This scholarly article operationally defines the aspects involved in analyzing anxiety, especially those that deal with predicting and controlling it (as many studies are geared toward this).

Role Going Forward: I will work on annotating the sources that are going to be on the final wiki introduction. As well, I will work on finding more sources and developing the group’s pool of sources; specifically studies that were conducted in the area of different sport circumstances (individual, team, pro, amateur, grassroots etc.)

Lisa Szymkowicz

Role So Far: Develop an overview of the hypotheses relating anxiety to performance
Four significant hypotheses/theories pertaining to the effects of anxiety on performance will comprise the historical foundation of the wiki. The goal is to provide enough background information to allow the author to formulate their own opinion using the additional experimental evidence that will be presented separately.

1. Inverted-U Hypothesis
2. Zone of Optimal Function (ZOF) Theory
3. Multidimensional Theory of Anxiety
4. The Catastrophe Model

Raglin, J. S., & Turner, P. E. (1993). Anxiety and performance in track and field athletes: A comparison of the inverted-U hypothesis with zone of optimal function theory. Personality and individual Differences, 14(1), 163-171.
This article reviews the history of the Inverted-U Hypothesis and Zone of Function Theory in terms of their acceptance in sport psychology and critiques. The study measured NCAA track and field athletes using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and compared their anxiety levels against their performance with respect to the Inverted-U Hypothesis and the Zone of Optimal Function Theory. The findings supported the Zone of Function Theory and suggested that the Inverted-U Hypothesis may be detrimental to athletes if incorporated into their sports psychology regime.
The author could use this article for background information on the Inverted-U hypothesis and ZOF Theory. This article also indicates the limitations of both theories and the general uncertainty associated with anxiety in sport.

Arent, S. M., & Landers, D. M. (2003). Arousal, anxiety, and performance: A reexamination of the inverted-U hypothesis. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 74(4), 436-444.
This article reexamined the inverted-U hypothesis by measuring the anxiety experienced by college students during a bicycle competition with a cash prize. results agreed with the Inverted-U Hypothesis and suggested that the cognitive and somatic anxiety should not be differentiated.
This article incorporates the mind-body problem and further exemplifies the debate among psychologists on the validity of the Inverted-U Hypothesis.

McNally, I.M. (2002). Contrasting Concepts of Competitive State-Anxiety in Sport: Multidimensional Anxiety and Catastrophe Theories. Online Journal of Sport Psychology, 4(2), 10-22
This article critiques the Inverted-U hypothesis and discusses two theories at the forefront of modern sport psychology: The Multidimensional Theory of Anxiety and the Catastrophe Model. Both attempted to disassociate cognitive anxiety from physiologically-based anxiety. The notion of subcomponents which vary in the lead up to critical sporting events was also introduced.
An understanding of the alternatives and critiques to the “standard”, Inverted-U Hypothesis is essential to generating a well-rounded answer.

Role Moving Forward: I will look the research collected by my peers and will help determine the best way to integrate this information into the wiki. I will also help oversee the general layout of the wiki as it comes together.

Francesca Pedulla

Role So Far: Finding information on anxiety tests and case studies relating to anxiety in sports
The author needs to be provided with basic information on the tests used to measure anxiety levels to establish an operational definition of anxiety.

Kar, S. (2013). Measurement of Competition Level Anxiety of College Level Athletes by Using SCAT. International Journal of Engineering Science and Innovative Technology, 2(3).
This study done to see how useful the SCAT test is in measuring anxiety in athletes in relation to perform in their sport

Smith, R.E., Smoll, F.L., Cumming, S.P., Grossbard, J.R. (2006). Measurement of Multidimensional Sport Performance Anxiety in Children and Adults: The Sport Anxiety Scale-2. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 28, 479-501.
This journal article is related to a study that used the Sport Anxiety Scale- 2 test on athletes ranging from child to adult. It is another test used to help measure anxiety in sport and how it effects an athlete’s performance

Robson, R. (2012). Case Study: Race Preparation, Control and Confidence. Swim Psych.
This is a case study done on swimmers and how they were able to deal with the anxiety of their sport, things they changed and certain procedures they followed to minimize they anxiety.

Role Moving Forward: Continue to contribute to a foundation for establishing an operational definition of anxiety by incorporating information on Anxiety Tests and general athletes’ perspectives.


Role So Far: Find case studies, research studies, and anxiety tests
I have compiled experimental research to provide the author with a broad perspective on the role of anxiety in different contexts. I have also outlined the SAS-2 which shows historical evolution from SAS (covered by Francesca).


Research Studies
Englert, C., & Bertrams, A. (2012). Anxiety, ego depletion, and sports performance. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 34(5), 580-599.
Mottaghi, M., Atarodi, A., & Rohani, Z. (2013). The relationship between coaches' and athletes' competitive anxiety, and their performance. Iranian Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, 7(2), 68-76.

Ciucurel, M. M. (2012). The relation between anxiety, reaction time and performance before and after sport competitions. Paper presented at the Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, , 33 885-889.

Case Studies
Jamshidi, A., Hossien, T., Sajadi, S. S., Safari, K., & Zare, G. (2011). The relationship between sport orientation and competitive anxiety in elite athletes. Paper presented at the Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, , 30 1161-1165.

Smith, R. E., Smoll, F. L., Cumming, S. P., & Grossbard, J. R. (2006). Measurement of multidimensional sport performance anxiety in children and adults: The sport anxiety scale-2. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 28(4), 479-501

Role Moving Forward: Considering the research gathered by the other members, establish how understanding the effects of anxiety in each context contribute to the authors answer.


McAuley, E., Mihalko, S. L., & Bane, S. M. (1996). Acute exercise and anxiety reduction: Does the environment matter? Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 18(4), 408-419.

Thout, S. M., Kavouras, S. A., & Kenefick, R. W. (1998). Effect of perceived ability, game location, and state anxiety on basketball performance. Journal of Sport Behavior, 21(3), 311-321. This article talks about an experiment that studies the anxiety caused by the perception of the opposing team and the location of the game.

Cox, R., Russell, W., & Robb, M. (1999). Comparative concurrent validity of the MRF-L and ARS competitive state anxiety rating scales for volleyball and basketball. Journal of Sport Behavior, 22(3), 310.

Bray, S. R., Jones, M. V., & Owen, S. (2002). The influence of competition location on athletes' psychological states. Journal of Sport Behavior, 25(3), 231-242.

Craft, Lynette L.; Magyar, T. Michelle; Becker, Betsy J.; Feltz, Deborah L. (2003). The Relationship Between the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 and Sport Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p44-65.

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