Intensity and direction of competitive anxiety as a function of sport type and experience

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2004 Oct;14(5):326-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2004.00389.x.


Using Jones' (1995) model of control, intensity (level) and direction (interpretation) of symptoms associated with competitive trait anxiety were examined as a function of sport type and competitive experience. Participants from gross explosive and fine motor-skill sports (n = 162) completed a trait version of the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (Martens et al., 1990a) including intensity and direction subscales (Jones & Swain, 1992). Main effects for experience and sport type were reported with gross explosive sports indicating symptoms associated with competitive anxiety as more facilitative to performance than fine motor-skill sports. Experienced performers also reported more-facilitating interpretations of symptoms than their less-experienced counterparts. The findings provide support from a dispositional context to suggest that sport type and the level of competitive experience influence interpretation of symptoms usually experienced in pressure situations. Implementation of activation, relaxation or restructuring interventions contingent upon the nature of the sport is recommended with consideration of the development of confidence-building strategies in less-experienced performers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Competitive Behavior*
  • Football / psychology
  • Golf / psychology
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Sports / classification
  • Sports / physiology
  • Sports / psychology*
  • United Kingdom