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Anxiety symptom interpretation and performance predictions in high-anxious, low-anxious and repressor sport performers

Jones, Kelly A., Smith, Nickolas C. and Holmes, Paul S. (2004) Anxiety symptom interpretation and performance predictions in high-anxious, low-anxious and repressor sport performers. stress and coping, 17 (2). pp. 187-199. ISSN 1061-5806

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Abstract

This study examined whether the tendency to interpret anxiety symptoms as facilitative was more a characteristic of individuals classified as repressors than high-anxious and low-anxious sports performers. The influence of the cognitive biases of high-anxious and repressor individuals on future performance expectations was also examined. The state anxiety levels, directional interpretation of anxiety and performance expectations of golfers classified as high-anxious, low-anxious and repressors were examined prior to competition. Performance expectations were compared to actual performances achieved. The proposal that repressors would interpret anxiety symptoms as more facilitative than high-anxious and low-anxious individuals was not supported. Repressors were found to be overly optimistic regarding future performance, consistently predicting better performance than they achieved. Contrary to predictions, performance expectations of the high-anxious group did not differ from those actually achieved. Thus, the proposal that high-anxious individuals would be overly pessimistic was not supported. These findings are discussed within the theory of trait anxiety proposed by Eysenck (1997).

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