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Arousal, Stress and Anxiety.doc

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Kinesiology 1088A/B
Robert La Rose

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Arousal, Stress and Anxiety- Chapter 4 Note: Arousal, Stress and Anxiety are not always a bad thing λ Arousal o Is a blend of physiological and psychological activation o The intensity of motivation at any particular time o Activation or excitation ranging on a continuum from sleep to hyper- intensity o Caused by anticipation- of an event, a threat or worry λ Stress o Selye (1956) – ‘Fight or Flight’ o The result of a substantial imbalance between the physical and psychological demands of a task and ones response capabilities under conditions where failure has important consequences (shooting free throws in the last seconds of the game, being a shooter in the shootout) o 4 stages (cyclical process)  What is the environmental demand  Perception of demand (threat)  Stress response (anxiety) (we get butterflies, our knees shake)  Behavioural consequences (outcome/ performance) λ Anxiety (results from the stress we perceive) o A negative emotional state characterized by nervousness, worry and apprehension o Has a cognitive (mental) component (worry, apprehension, etc.) o Also has a somatic (physiological) component (increased heart or breathing rate, sweating, nausea, butterflies, faint) λ Arousal Theories o Drive Theory (Spense, 1966)  Performance = f(habit/ drive)  Linear relationship between arousal and performance (as arousal increases so does performance)  Impact dependant on how well the task is learned (social facilitation theory)  No longer much support for this theory o Inverted U Hypothesis  There are optimal levels or arousal  Once reach optimal level, performance deteriorates if you continue to become more aroused or activated  Is a zone not a point (IZOF – Hanin) (individual zone of optimal function) o Catastrophe Theory (Hardy, 1996)  Somatic anxiety can have markedly different effects on performance depending on the cognitive anxiety (worry) being experienced  If worry is low- inverted U relationship  If worry is high- activation reaches an optimal threshold after which there is a dramatic or ‘catastrophic’ decline in performance  Difficult to recover form once experienced o Reversal Theory (Apter & Kerr, 1984)  It is the cognitive interpretation of ones arousal level that impacts performance  High arousal = excitement or anxiety  Low arousal = relaxation or boring  Pleasant or unpleasant  Individuals are subject to very rapid changes or reversals in their interpretation of the same event (i.e. parachuting)  Best performance when interpretation is pleasant excitement Anxiety (Spielberger, 1966) λ Need for Achievement vs. Fear of Failure λ These are personality traits, independent of one another and stable over long periods of time λ They are basic traits that will influence how arousal will affect a person in a specific situation (competitive sport) λ Trait Anxiety o Stable personality tendency to perceive situations as threatening when they really are not λ State Anxiety o A changing emotional state characterized by tension and apprehension and by autonomic nervous system reactions o Measure with inventories like SCAT (Sport Competition Anxiety Test – Martens, 1977) λ SCAT o Assess the degree of the personality trait of anxiety o Asses the degree of stress before, during and after an event (state anxiety) o Assess the overall effect of anxiety during a competition o Findings:  No difference in trait or state anxiety levels between: • Participants and non-participants (people who watch)  State anxiety gradually decreases with age and experience  High trait anxious individuals experience higher feelings of state anxiety prior to, during and after competitions λ Sources of Stress (individualized) o Situational  Importance of the event or segments of it (beginning vs. end of game)  Uncertainty of the outcome or life events o Personal  Trait anxiety  Self-esteem  Social physique evaluation anxiety (how do I look?) λ Autogenic
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