A temporal investigation into the dimensions of competitive anxiety : Theory into practice.

THOMAS, Owen M. (2004). A temporal investigation into the dimensions of competitive anxiety : Theory into practice. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This thesis provided a detailed examination of psychological preparation during the time leading up to competition. Competitive anxiety symptoms were investigated through a fine-grained measurement approach incorporating the dimensions of intensity (i.e., level), directional perceptions (i.e., facilitative/debilitative), and frequency (i.e., amount of time) using the modified Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (Jones & Swain, 1992; Swain &Jones, 1993). Three different research methodologies were employed across the thesis. The first two studies adopted a quantitative design. Study three used a mixed method design utilising an idiographic labelling approach and qualitative interview techniques. The final study utilised a single-subject multiple baseline design. Study one investigated intensity, direction and frequency dimensions of competitive state anxiety throughout a one week preparation period as a function of skill level in a sample of National and Club performers. Results indicated no skill level differences in the intensity or frequency of symptoms, but the national level performers were more facilitative in their interpretation of cognitive and somatic anxiety. Additionally, change-over-time effects were only noted in the intensity and frequency of symptoms, with greater variation being observed in the frequency dimension. Study two examined preparation based temporal variations in anxiety symptoms (intensity, direction and frequency) as a function of symptom interpretation (facilitative/debilitative/mixed). Results indicated facilitators displayed higher intensities of self-confidence, a more positive interpretation of cognitive and somatic anxiety, lower frequencies of cognitive anxiety and higher frequencies of self-confidence than the debilitators during the week leading up to competition. Further, change-over-time effects were observed in the dimensions of intensity, direction and frequency, with greater variation being noted in the frequency dimension. These findings highlighted important practical implications regarding the preparation strategies facilitators and debilitators used during the time leading up to competition. Study three addressed how the two groups of performers psychologically prepared during the time leading up to competition using qualitative interviews. Causal questions, and probes underpinned by an Experience Sampling Method technique followed by causal network analysis and composite sequence analysis revealed that in comparison to the debilitators, the facilitators utilised a refined psychological preparation routine during the time leading up to competition. This routine relied on specific imagery, thought rationalisation, cognitive restructuring, goal setting and self-talk skills during certain phases of the preparation period. These findings generated important practical implications when attempting to restructure performer's negative symptom experiences during preparation time for competition. The final study examined the influence of a multi-modal preparation based intervention programme on performers debilitated by their pre-performance anxiety symptoms. Intervention effects were examined over competitive sporting performance and the symptoms experienced during the preparation time for competition throughout a ten match competitive cycle. The intervention programme successfully restructured cognitive and somatic anxiety symptoms, increased self-confidence intensity, decreased cognitive anxiety frequency and increased self-confidence frequency throughout the preparation time for competition. Further, these changes were associated with an approximate 10% improvement in sporting performance. These findings indicated preparation based interventions provide beneficial effects for the performance of athletes, and the pre-event symptoms they experience. In summary, this thesis suggests sport psychologists, both researchers and practitioners, should consider the reactions to competition as preparation based temporal processes incorporating the dimensions of intensity, direction and frequency and develop interventions that are shaped by the time leading up to competition.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2004.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:23
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2018 14:20
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/20826

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