The influence of competitive experience on anxiety interpretation
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Competitive anxiety is extensively researched, with a considerable amount of attention focused on the notion of 'direction'. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of experience on the interpretation of anxiety symptoms in elite performers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted (n=7) with male professional football players to explore the athletes experience and the effects these have. Data was then reduced using both inductive and deductive content analysis. This process guided the examination of the full effects of experience on anxiety interpretation. Two causal networks were then produced to present this data. The main findings indicated that performers perceived experience to be a vital component in relation to anxiety direction. Results showed that experience leads to more facilitative interpretation, however, when in novel situations some elite athletes still view anxiety as debilitative toward performance. The findings highlight competitive experience as an important variable in the study of multi dimensional anxiety and coping. Key words: anxiety, debilitative, direction, experience, facilitative
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