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PSYC 3480 (25)
Dan Yarmey (17)

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PSYC 3480
Dan Yarmey

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 Chapter 5: Anxiety in Sport and Exercise Common Myths about Motivation and Behavioural Change MYTH: Anxiety symptoms are generally the same for all sport and exercise participants MYTH: Exercise always helps to reduce anxiety MYTH: Pre-competitive anxiety always negatively affects sport performance Introduction - it is often thought that the difference between successful performances and those which are evaluated as failures lies in the performers’ ability to manage their nervous- ness or anxiety Definitions and Basic Concepts of Anxiety Anxiety It Not Arousal Arousal - a blend of physiological and psychological activation of an individual’s auto- nomic nervous system - generally, this state varies in intensity on a continuum ranging from deep sleep to peak activation or frenzy - high arousal exhibits both physiological and psychological symptoms - arousal is neither pleasant or unpleasant - early sport psychology research examining the influence of anxiety on sport perfor- mance viewed anxiety as a unidimensional construct equivalent to that of arousal - now it is observed to be more complex Anxiety Is an Emotion and Is Multidimensional in Nature Anxiety - most commonly understood as a negative emotion, proposed to have the fol- lowing characteristics: (1) elicited following an appraisal (evaluation) of a specific situa- tion or event, (2) it is universally observed across people of all cultures, (3) it has a dis- tinct physiology, (4) it is observed through a discrete facial expression, and (5) it is asso- ciated with a unique set of behaviours that are called action tendencies - anxiety is experienced in different ways: nauseas, heavy legs - anxiety is composed to 2 components: a mental and physical part Cognitive Anxiety - the mental component, the athlete’s concerns and worries and the reduced ability to focus or concentrate Somatic Anxiety - the physical component, the physiological and affective elements of the anxiety experience that develop directly from autonomic arousal - somatic anxiety is the perception of physiological arousal that is experienced, it is not merely a reflection of the level of physiological arousal Anxiety is Context Specific Social Anxiety - a specific type of anxiety that occurs during social situations - occurs when people experience, or think that they will experience, evaluations from other people Competitive Anxiety - some believe it is a form of social anxiety, athletes may be con- cerned about their body, performance, fitness level or skills being evaluated Social Physique Anxiety - the tendency to experience anxiety as a result of perceiving that others may evaluate one’s physique in social settings Anxiety Has Both Trait and State Components State Anxiety - associated with worries and apprehensions that change from moment to moment Trait Anxiety - a stable part of an individual’s personality, predisposing the individual to perceive situations as physically or psychologically threatening Dimensions of the Anxiety Response Intensity of Symptoms - the amount or level of symptoms experienced by physical ac- tivity and sport participants Frequency of Cognitive Intrusions - the amount of time (%) that thoughts and feelings about the competition occupy an individual’s mind Directional Interpretation of Symptoms - negative emotions do not always negatively affect performance, sometimes anxiety has a positive affect on performance - the extent to which the intensity of the cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms are la- belled as either facilitative or debilitative Sources of Anxiety Personal Sources of Anxiety 1. Age, Experience, and Skill Level - Walter Fenz demonstrated that novice parachute jumpers differed in arousal respons- es to jumping from an airplane compared to expert jumpers - some other studies reveal anxiety differences between expert and novice athletes and others found no differences - Jones investigated this and found that athletes do not differ in the intensity of anxiety symptoms prior to competition, but more skilled athletes view anxiety to be facilitative and less skilled athletes view anxiety to be debilitative - competitive experience may be a more sensitive indicator related to differences in ath- letes’ experience of anxiety - Mellalieu found that although higher skilled performers are assumed to posses a greater number of competitive experience, it is possible for them to have little experi- ence at a given competitive level due to a sudden rise in performance level 2. Gender - early research provided some evidence that female athletes report higher intensities of trait and state anxiety symptoms - more recent research has failed to find difference between male and female competi- tive anxiety responses - in exercise and other physical activity settings, females experience higher levels of so- cial physique anxiety compared to males - Body Mass Index (BMI) was the strongest predictor of social physique anxiety for col- lege women whereas exercise behaviour was the strongest factor for college men - peer pressure and relative attractiveness of peers were predictors of social physique anxiety in both males and females - there are 2 important points: although both males and females experience, it is a greater concern for women, and different factors are related to social physique anxiety for males and females 3. Trait Anxiety - competitiveness, extroversion, hardiness, neuroticism, optimism/pessimism, perfec- tionism, self-consciousness and self-esteem are all known to influence an individual’s level of competitive state anxiety and social physique anxiety Competitive Trait Anxiety - the tendency to experience anxiety during competitive situ- ations and social physique anxiety - trait anxiety has received the most attention by sport and exercise psychologists - an individual’s level of trait anxiety is proposed to directly affect the perception of threat in competitive exercise situations and state anxiety intensity levels - the effect is restricted to the intensity of anxiety symptoms and does not extend to the interpretations of symptoms as facilitative or debilitative to performance - low trait anxious and high trait anxious athletes interpret state anxiety symptoms in a similar manner for affecting sport performance 4. Self-Confidence and Self-Presentational Beliefs - positive beliefs about competence, readiness for competition, ability to exert control in competition, and ability to perform better than one’s opponent are related to lower levels of state anxiety - beliefs relating to the competitive success of the group or team also influences the ath- letes’ pre-competitive - athletes’ who hold positive beliefs about their group’s ability to work together to achieve success report having less pre-competitive state anxiety - self-confident athletes are more likely to view state anxiety symptoms as facilitative - self-presentation is the process by which people attempt to monitor and control the im- pressions that other people hold of them - poor self-presentation beliefs were related to elevations in competitive and state anxi- ety intensity - discrepancy between women’s current and ideal shape was positively associated with social physique anxiety in regular exercisers - as people exercise more to control their weight and appearance, social physique anxi- ety also increased Self-Presentational Self-Efficacy - the confidence in one’s ability to present images of being an exerciser - women who believed they would be exercising in an environment while wearing loose- fitting t-shirts and shorts with no mirrors, windows or men present showed decreased levels of social anxiety and social physique anxiety 5. Self-Regulation Strategies - common coping skills are relaxation skills, self-talk and cognitive restructuring and im- agery - the most important factor distinguishing olympic medal winners from non-medal win- ners is that ability to use coping skills to manage anxiety responses - self-handicapping - any action or choice of performance setting that enhances the op- portunity to externalize or excuse failure and internalize success - self-handicapping is a self-regulation strategy, it is likely to diminish efforts during com- petitive, select unattainable goals to achieve, exaggerate the pain associated with an in- jury or complain illegitimately about the fairness of the referee - these athletes also have higher intensity levels of trait and state anxiety - anxiety symptoms are more likely to be viewed as facilitative - elevations in the intensity of anxiety responses in athletes and exercisers are associat- ed with (1) novice expertise, (2) being female, (3) high trait anxiety, (4) low self-confi- dence (and low self-efficacy) in individual and team competencies, (5) negative or poor self-presentational beliefs, (6) poor self-regulatory skills and (7) the use of self-handi- capping strategies Environment-Based Sources of Anxiety Temporal Patterning in the Sport Environment - somatic anxiety remains at a low intensity until several hours prior to competition, after which there is a sharp rise until the onset of performance - during and after the competition, the intensity level of somatic anxiety decreases - cognitive anxiety demonstrates a different pattern, unless there is a change in the ath- lete’s evaluation of the potential for success prior to competition, no changes in the in- tensity level of cognitive anxiety are expected to occur prior to competition - after the onset of competition, there is a steady decline in the cognitive anxiety - personal variables (sex, gender role endorsement, skill level, sport type, level of com- petition, competitiveness, success and failure) also interact with the temporal phase to moderate anxiety - any factor that increases the perceived threat of the situation increases anxiety - temporal patterning has also been studied according to the frequency of cognitive in- trusions/symptoms as well as the directional interpretation of anxiety symptoms - while the intensity of cognitive anxiety remained stable, the frequency of cognitive in- trusions increased as competition nears - directional perceptions of cognitive anxiety become less facilitative as the competition draws nearer Mirrors in the Exercise Environment - mirrors may increase the levels of state anxiety and social anxiety - this may be true in women who are already high in trait social physique anxiety and those who are novice exercisers - mirrors might be useful in providing performance information for more complex tasks or for regular exercisers because they provide an opportunity to watch their performance - when tasks are simple or exercisers are inexperienced, anxiety increases with mirrors Clothing in the Exercise Environment - more revealing clothing is associated with higher levels of social anxiety - women who engage in little physical activity and who were high in social physique anx- iety preferred less-revealing attire and those lower in social physique anxiety preferred more revealing clothing - in participants who were already active, this difference disappeared Characteristics of Other Exercisers - women who were higher in social physique anxiety and who exercised when other people were present experienced greater state anxiety during exercise - having other participants be interactive, positive, and enthusiastic (enriched) during an exercise class was associated with greater social anxiety levels than when other partici- pants did not interact with one another - the exercisers wanted the other participants to like them and cared more about what they thought about them which may have increased their social anxiety - they may also have believed that others were watching their performance - women who exercise in mixed-gender rather than all-female settings report higher lev- els of social physique anxiety Exercise Leader Characteristics - when the instructor used and enriched style, participants experienced less social anxi- ety than when she used a bland style - perhaps the participants felt less intimidated and less worried about being judged - when an instructor wore more revealing clothing that emphasized her body, women’s anxiety was no different that when the instructor wore less revealing clothing - women who thought they had less attractive bodies than the instructor experienced grater social physique anxiety - comparisons women make to the instructors is more important than the actual appear- ance of the instructor Anxiety Influences On Exercise Behaviour and Sport Performance - exercisers who experience excessive levels of anxiety are likely to feel uncomfortable in the exercise environment and may not engage in exercise behaviour in the future - athletes who consistently experience high level of worry and apprehension prior to sport competition tend to have lowered levels of enjoyment, increased susceptibility to athletic injury, enhanced feelings of burnout and increased dropout rates The Influence of Anxiety on Exercise Behaviours - most research has attempted to determine how various forms of anxiety may influence exercise-related behaviours and cognitions - research has examined the relationship between social anxiety and exercise primarily through a self-presentational framework - self-presentation occurs when people try to control how others see them - very high levels of social anxiety may prevent people from exercising altogether - individuals high in social physique anxiety may exercise more as a way to improve their bodies and therefore receive positive evaluations from others - individuals high in social physique anxiety might also avoid exercise to avoid situations in which others could evaluate there bodies - in another study, social physique anxiety led to lower levels of physical activity only in women with low levels of self-presentation efficacy - excessive exercise may be related to self-presentational concerns - men often over-lifted at the gym in order to be seen as brave and attractive - social physique anxiety was not significantly related to symptoms of exercise depen- dence when BMI, gender and exercise behaviour of the individual was taking into con- sideration Anxiety-Sport Performance Relationship Models - early explanations such as the drive theory and the inverted-U theory were based on anxiety being equivalent to arousal - there are 3 prominent theories in modern research: 1. Multidimensional Anxiety Theory (MAT) - first set of predictions addresses the relationship between cognitive and somatic com- ponents of anxiety and sport performance - the second set of predictions addresses how the relationship between the component of competitive anxiety and sport performance may change across different temporal phases of a competition - it is proposed that somatic anxiety has an inverted curvilinear (inverted U) relationship with performance - as intensity increased, performance is enhanced to a certain point - cognitive anxiety is proposed to have a negative linear relationship with sport perfor- mance, as the intensity of worry increased, sport performance decreases - the strength of MAT is its capacity to describe a very complex 3-D relationship in a se- rious of simpler 2-D relationships - unfortunately the results of studies have been inconsistent 2. Zones of Optimal Functioning Theory (ZOF) - some athletes perform best with hig
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