Anxiety interpretation

Anxiety interpretation

Introduction

Winning is the ultimate goal for performance success amongst elite athletes and approaches to achieve a competitive edge and optimise sporting performances are eagerly sought after Facilitative interpretation of anxiety symptoms to impending performance is one recognised attribute of individuals of a higher performance status and empirical support substantiates this relationship Jones Hanton Swain 1994 Jones Swain 1995

One approach to attaining a more facilitative interpretation of anxiety is through using a combination of psychological skills Hanton Jones 1999a 1999b Thomas Maynard Hanton 2007 Findings emphasise the role of cognitive restructuring strategies such as goalsetting to elicit positive interpretations However the debate over which psychological skills comprising multimodal interventions are responsible for the favoured anxiety appraisals remains debatable Fletcher Hanton 2002

More specifically recent advancements have identified individual psychological skills which promote positive competitiveanxiety responses OBrien Mellalieu Hanton 2009 Wadey Hanton 2007 2008 yet the mechanisms underlying how and why athletes interpret their anxiety levels as positive are still inconclusive If athletes can develop their ability to perceive anxiety in a more positive manner they are more likely to benefit from the accompanied performance advantage

Anxiety traditionally believed to be a negative determinant of performance has now become recognised as a stimulant Jones Hanton 1996 In response to this dualanxiety response Jones 1991 argued that the traditional measure of multidimensional anxiety the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory2 CSAI2 Martens Burton Vealey Bump Smith 1990 restricted the measurement of anxiety response to intensity levels only cited in Jones Swain 1995 In response Jones and Swain 1992 developed the modified version of the CSAI2 in which a directional scale was collaborated This broadened the approach adopted to measure intensity and perception of symptoms which were believed to mark the presence of anxiety

In an attempt to explain anxiety interpretation differences Jones 1995 proposed a model of control whereby athletes anxiety interpretation was governed by the confidence in their ability to control behaviour and the environment in which to achieve their goals The model explains that a more positive expectancy of goal attainment is resultant of perceived control and ability to cope and this generates a more facilitative interpretation of anxiety This concept of control stemmed from Carver and Scheier 1988 research who proposed that an athletes interpretation relies on their belief of being able to cope with anxiety levels and having the competency to meet the demands of the task A wealth of research has based findings on Jones 1995 theoretical framework whereby positive expectancies of goal attainment and facilitative appraisals of anxiety are inextricably wedded Jones Hanton 1999a Jones Hanton 1996 Wadey Hanton 2008

Findings reported by Vealey Hayashi GarnerHolman GiacobbiVealey et al 1998 reinforces the connectivity of the components within Jones model 1995 in that the perception of selfcontrol has been identified as the second most important source of selfconfidence for athletes Sources of selfconfidence are vast and well documented for a review see Bandura 1977 1986 1997 Vealey et alVealey Hayashi GarnerHolman Giacobbi 1998 and the challenge is to now determine those behaviours which are most conducive to selfconfidence increments

The importance of selfconfidence has been welldocumented and as one of the most important attribute to athletes it also discriminates between elite and nonelite performers Feltz 1988 Previous studies have suggested that selfconfidence functions as a buffer to experiencing debilitative anxiety levels Hanton Mellalieu Hall 2004 Findings reveal that athletes with superior levels of selfconfidence consistently reported positive direc

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