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Arousal, Stress and Anxiety.docx

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Kinesiology 1088A/B

Arousal, Stress and Anxiety October 24, 2011 Arousal - a blend of physiological and psychological activation - the intensity of motivation at any particular time - activation or excitation ranging on a continuum from sleep to hyper-intensity - caused by anticipation – of an event, a threat, or worry Stress - Selye (1956) – ‘fight or flight’ - The result of a substantial imbalance between the physical and psychological demands of a task and one’s response capabilities under conditions where failure has important consequences - 4 stages – environmental demand – perception of demand (threat) – stress response (anxiety) – behavioural consequences (outcome/performance) Anxiety - A negative emotional state characterized by nervousness, worry and apprehension - Has a cognitive (mental) component (worry, apprehension, etc.) - Has a somatic (physiological) component (increased heart or breathing rate, sweating, nausea, “butterflies”, faint) Arousal Theories 1. Drive Theory (Spense, 1966) - Performance = f(habit/drive) (how well learned and how motivated) - Linear relationship between arousal and performance (as arousal and performance (as arousal increases so does performance)  not really true - Impact dependent on how well the task is learned (social facilitation theory) No longer much support for this theory Note: arousal/stress/anxiety are not always a bad thing 2. Inverted U Hypothesis (like a bell or normal curve – psych) - There are optimal levels of arousal - Once reach optimal level, performance deteriorates if you continue to become more aroused or activated - Is a zone not a point (IZOF – Hanin) - Varies from person to person (some people need higher levels of arousal to perform at the same level – ie. a linebacker has a different “zone” than a kicker) - Different tasks have different optimal levels (even in the same event – ie. biathlon: skiing vs shooting_ 3. Catastrophe Theory (Hardy, 1996) - Somatic anxiety can have markedly different effects on performance depending on the cognitive anxiety (worry) being experienced - If worry low – inverted U relationship - If worry high – activation reaches an optimal threshold after which there is a dramatic “catastrophic” decline in performance (individual is so activated that when something bad happens or they make a mistake, they worry so much, they can’t perform anymore) - Difficult to recover from once experienced 4. Reversal Theory (Apter & Kerr, 1984/85) - It is the cognitive interpretation of one’s arousal level that impacts performance  High arousal = excitement or anxiety  Low arousal = relaxation or boredom (*Flow Experience*) Pleasant or unpleasant interpretation - Individuals are subject to very rapid changed or reversals in their interpretation of the same event (ie. parachuting – could end up in the side of a mountain instead of in a meadow, I get so anxious I couldn’t pull the cord to release the parachute…splat) Best performance when interpretation is pleasant excitement Anxiety (Spielberger, 1966) (Need for Achievement vs Fear of Failure) - These are personality traits, independent of one another and stable over long periods of time - They are basic traits that will influence how arousal will affect a person in a specific situation (competitive sport) Trait Anxiety - Stable personality tendency to perceive situations as threatening when they really are not State Anxiety - A changing emotional state characterized by tension and apprehension and by autonomic nervous system reactions - Measure with inventories like SCAT (Sport Competition Anxiety Test – Martens, 1977) - What About Bob video – anxious about everything, fakes diseases, what ifs, constant state of panic, small reasonable goals (baby steps) SCAT - Assess the degree of the personality trait of anxiety - Assess the degree of stress before, during and after an event (state anxiety) - Assess the overall effect of anxiety during a competition Findings: - No different in trait of state anxiety levels between:  Participants and non-participants (ie. fans)  Most-skilled vs least-skilled competitors  State anxiety gradually decreases with age and experience  High trait anxious individuals experience higher feelings of state anxiety prior to, during and after competitions  Trait anxiety levels have no influences on ultimate ability levels Sources of Stress – individualized 1. Situational a. Importance of the event or segments of it b. Uncertainty of outcome or life events 2. Personal a. Trait anxiety b. Self-esteem/Self-confidence c. Social physique evaluation anxiety Other factors influencing one’s perception of stress in a competitive situation 1. Individual or team sport 2. Expectations for success 3. Winning vs losing or trying to do one’s best (outcome vs performance) (reference to Goal Setting) 4. Attributions to outcome – learned helplessness Fear of Success (Horner, 1985)  Withhold effort or involvement so you don’t have to live up to levels attained in previous best performance Effects of Anxiety 1. Somatic – interferes with muscles co-ordination  Simultaneous contraction of tension in antagonistic muscle groups 2. Psychological – distraction of attention/loss of focus  Think about physical problems and not focus on the task at hand  Narrowing of the visual field and elimination of relevant cues Anxiety results in a Negative Cycle or Spiral (more anxious, more detriment to performance; poorer per
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