A qualitative study: the relationship between self-confidence, anxiety and performance
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this study was to identify antecedents of selÊconfidence and relate them to somatic and cognitive anxiety in situations of success and failure. In- depth interview techniques were employed to investigate these relationships and identifii self-confidence antecedents often (five males and five females) national swimmers. Interviews were recorded and transcripts analysed before raw quotes were extracted (quotes representing meaningful points). A modified version of inductive content analysis as recommended by Patton (1980) and successfully adapted to sport by Hanton and Jones (1999a) was adopted. No differences were found between intensity scores for either somatic or cognitive anxiety between successful and unsuccessful performances. However both somatic and cognitive anxiety were perceived as more facilitating to performance during the successful performance. Self-confidence levels however, were higher during the successful performance with only one participant reporting high levels during the unsuccessful performance. Seven general antecedents of self-confrdence were identified from the transcribed interviews, these included, previous experience, concentration, environment, anxiety and pressure, training and preparation, competitive situation and goals setting. It was concluded that selfconfidence predicted performance and that participants with higher self-confidence perceived anxiety symptoms as more facilitative to their performance than debilitators low in selÊconfidence. High selÊconfidence was found to be facilitated by the antecedents identifïed, with training previous experiences and goal setting reported to have the greatest effect on selÊconfidençe levels. It was therefore suggested that instead of dealing with anxiety reduction and cognitive restructuring to facilitative anxiety perceptions, self-confidence should be enhanced to facilitate such performance antecedents. These results extended the knowledge of the anxiety-selfconfidence relationship from a qualitative perspective, although further research may be required to improve the applicability ofthe findings for swimmers and coaches.
BSc (Hons) Sport, PE and Recreation
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