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Anxiety symptom interpretation and performance expectations in high-anxious, low-anxious, defensive high-anxious and repressor individuals

Franklin, ZC and Smith, NC and Holmes, PS (2015) Anxiety symptom interpretation and performance expectations in high-anxious, low-anxious, defensive high-anxious and repressor individuals. PERSONALITY AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, 77. ISSN 0191-8869

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Abstract

To date, no research has investigated score predictions and anxiety interpretation in high-anxious, low-anxious, defensive high-anxious and repressor individuals. This study examined Eysenck’s (1997) predictions for cognitive biases on future performance expectations in all four groups. This study was conducted in an ecologically-valid sporting environment. Competitive shooters completed the Marlowe–Crowne Social Desirability Scale and the Sport Anxiety Scale prior to a major competition. Percentile splits identified the four defensiveness/anxiety groups. The modified Competitive Sport Anxiety Inventory-2 was used to assess the intensity and direction of anxiety prior to competition. Participants predicted their expected shooting score. The hypothesis that repressors would interpret their anxiety as more facilitative to performance compared to low-anxious individuals was partially supported. Repressors were more optimistic in their performance prediction in contrast to defensive high-anxious performers who, in turn, were more pessimistic compared to the other two groupings. High-anxious performers, contrary to predictions, demonstrated optimism in their future performance. The findings of this study corroborate the theoretical predictions and the evidence from previous studies with sport performers. Future research should continue to investigate the influence of cognitive biases on performance predictions in sporting environments using Weinberger et al.’s classifications.

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