Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Grace Whiteley
Title How Trait and State Anxiety Influence Athletic Performance
Department Psychology
Advisors Mary Jo Zembar, Jeff Brookings, and Steve Dawson
Year 2013
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (163 KB)
Abstract Trait anxiety is a personality characteristic that describes the tendency to feel anxious across a variety of situations, while state anxiety refers to the anxiety experienced in a specific situation (Cox, 2007). Previous research has suggested that high trait anxious individuals experience more situation-specific state anxiety (Horikawa & Yagi, 2012). Additionally, prior research has indicated that anxiety can have either positive or negative effects on competitive performance, depending on other psychological factors such as self-efficacy, and other variables such as gender (Gallucci, 2008). This study included 96 college athletes and 57 high school athletes, and investigated how trait and state anxiety, self-efficacy, team orientation, age, gender, and experience level affect competitive athletic performance. Results showed that high trait anxious individuals experience more state cognitive and state somatic anxiety and less state selfconfidence than low trait anxious athletes. Additionally, high school athletes experienced more somatic state anxiety than did college athletes. High school females experienced more cognitive and somatic state anxiety and less state self-confidence than college females, however this effect did not appear between male high school and college athletes. These results indicate that there is a high level of variation in the anxiety experienced by different athletes that may have implications in the techniques that coaches use to improve an athlete's performance.

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