1 ADAPTED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY QUARTERLY, 1997,14, O 1997 Human Kinetics Publishers. Inc. Precompetition Anxiety and Self-Confidence in Wheelchair Sport Participants Elizabeth Campbell and Graham Jones Loughborough University This study examined the precompetition temporal patterning of anxiety and self-confidence in wheelchair sport participants. The subjects comprised of 103 male (n = 87) and female (n = 16) wheelchair sport participants who participated at national level or above in a variety of sports. All the subjects completed a modified version of the Competitive Trait Anxiety Inventory-2 (CTAI-2) which measured three dimensions of their normal competitive anxiety response (intensity, frequency, and direction), at three time periods preceding competition (1 week, 2 hours, and 30 minutes before). The findings suggest that wheelchair sport participants show a similar precompetition anxiety response to nondisabled sport participants. However, there appears to be some differences, particularly in the intensity of somatic anxiety symptoms experienced and the reduction in self-confidence just prior to competition. The findings also provide further support for the distinction between intensity, frequency, and direction of competitive anxiety symptoms. Top level sport for people with a disability is becoming more competitive and the rewards for success, and the disappointments associated with failure, are often great. These are factors which clearly have the potential to create anxiety in many who participate. However, few investigations specifically have examined how athletes with a disability respond in highly stressful sporting situations. Knowledge of these responses is vital if sport psychologists are to provide effective services to support and enhance the performance of athletes with a disability. Indeed, Crocker (1993) urged caution in service providers, assuming that performance enhancement techniques that have been used by nondisabled athletes will work with athletes who have a disability. This is because sport psychology theories and psychological techniques have not been developed or investigated specifically using individuals with disabilities (Crocker, 1993). There is a need, therefore, for research designs to include subjects with disabilities because such research can help extend current theories and also increase the understanding of disability (Reid, 1989). Elizabeth Campbell and Graham Jones both are with the Department of Physical Education, Sports Science, and Recreation Management at Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LEll 3TU, UK.
2 96 Campbell and Jones The present study looked specifically at the competitive anxiety and selfconfidence responses of wheelchair sport participants during the period preceding competition. The lack of work with disabled populations in this area means that an examination of some of the competitive anxiety literature on able-bodied athletes is appropriate. The following section on competitive anxiety considers three areas: multidimensional competitive anxiety; temporal patterning of anxiety and selfconfidence responses; and the response dimensions of intensity, direction, and frequency. Competitive Anxiety Multidimensional Competitive Anxiety Recent research in competitive anxiety is based on developments in educational and clinical psychology which demonstrated that anxiety should be conceptualized as multidimensional in nature, comprising of cognitive and somatic components (Davidson & Schwartz, 1976; Liebert & Morris, 1967). Cognitive anxiety was defined by Moms, Davis, and Hutchings (198 1) as "the cognitive elements of anxiety, such as negative expectations and cognitive concerns about oneself, the situation at hand and potential consequences" (p. 541); somatic anxiety was defined as "one's perception of the physiological-affective elements of the anxiety experience, that is, indications of autonomic arousal and unpleasant-feeling states such as nervousness and tension" (p. 541). The development of research into multidimensional competitive anxiety was stimulated by the work of Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, and Smith (1982, 1990) who developed a questionnaire, the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI- 2), which measures cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and also self-confidence. Subsequent research has supported this distinction between cognitive and somatic anxiety by showing that they have: different antecedents (Gould, Petlichkoff, & Weinberg, 1984; Jones, Swain, & Cale, 1991); different temporal characteristics (Gould et al., 1984; Jones et al., 1991; Martens et al., 1990); different performance consequences (Burton, 1988; Gould, Petlichkoff, Simons, & Vevera, 1987; Jones & Cale, 1989; Parfitt & Hardy, 1987, 1993); and also respond differently to interventions (Burton, 1990). Temporal Patterning A prominent line of research using the CSAI-2 has involved examination of fluctuations in anxiety and self-confidence levels during the period preceding competition. Silva and Hardy (1984) identified four reasons why the vast majority of research has focused on the precompetition time period: (a) the assumption that the athlete's mental set prior to competition can affect subsequent performance; (b) the assumption that the athlete has some control over his or her mental preparation during the precompetition period; (c) the precompetition period is much more accessible to researchers than the period of competition itself; (d) if precompetition anxiety is a (negative) source of performance variance, then the sport psychologist can assist in developing appropriate precompetition states. The findings from studies using the CSAI-2 during the time period preceding competin generally have supported the predictions of Multidinlensiorial Competitive
3 Anxiety and Self-confidence in Wheelchair Sport 97 Anxiety Theory (Martens et al., 1990) that cognitive anxiety remains relatively stable prior to competition while somatic anxiety tends to increase rapidly close to the start of the event (Jones & Cale, 1989; Parfitt, 1988; ParEitt & Hardy, 1987). Findings have shown self-confidence to be less consistent during the precompetition period (Gould et al., 1984; Jones & Cale, 1989; Parfitt & Hardy, 1987). However, temporal patterning has been shown to vary as a function of individual difference variables such as sport type (Krane & Williams, 1987; Martens et al., 1990), skill level (Martens et al., 1990), sex (Jones et al., 1991), gender role (Swain &Jones, 1991), and competitiveness (Swain & Jones, 1992). Intensity, Direction, and Frequency Dimensions of Competitive Anxiety The most recent development in the area of competitive anxiety has been the recognition of the CSAI-2 as being a limited measure of anxiety because it merely measures the "intensity," or level, of cognitive and perceived physical symptoms which are deemed to reflect the presence of anxiety (Jones, 1991, 1995). Specifically, the inventory does not measure what Jones and colleagues have labeled "directional perceptions" of the symptoms; that is, the individual's interpretation of the symptoms in terms of being facilitative or debilitative to forthcoming performance (Jones, 1995; Jones & Swain, 1992; Jones, Swain, & Hardy, 1993). Anxiety has generally been viewed as negative and debilitative to performance, but recent research findings suggest that anxiety also can have positive effects (Jones & Cale, 1989; Jones et al., 1993; Parfitt & Hardy, 1993). For example, one performer might be "very concerned" about an upcoming event to the extent of being in a near panic, debilitative state. Another performer who is also "very concerned" might view such a state as signifying the importance of the event and therefore be motivated to invest effort in it, constituting a facilitative state. Similarly, two performers experiencing almost identical symptoms of physiological arousal might interpret those symptoms at opposite ends of the facilitative-debilitative continuum. Support for the distinction between "intensity" and "direction" of competitive anxiety symptoms has been provided in several recent empirical investigations (Jones & Hanton, 1996; Jones, Hanton, & Swain, 1994; Jones & Swain, 1992,1995). Most of the studies have used a modified version of the CSAI-2 to measure intensity and direction of symptoms in elite and nonelite athletes. The findings generally have indicated no differences between elite and nonelite athletes on the intensity of precompetition anxiety symptoms, but that elite performers interpret their anxiety states as being more facilitative to performance than nonelite performers. A further development in this area has been the measurement of a "frequency" dimension of the competitive anxiety response, where frequency refers to how often the athlete is experiencing his or her anxiety symptoms. Research findings reported by Swain and Jones (1993) have shown that although cognitive anxiety intensity did not alter from one week to one hour prior to competition, the frequency with which the symptoms were experienced increased markedly over that period. Specifically, cognitive anxiety symptoms were experienced 5% of the time one week before competition and 90% of the time one hour before. Thus, although cognitive anxiety intensity did not change over the precompetition period, the symptoms were experienced more frequently as the competition approached. Swain and Jones' (1993) study did not, however, report similar dissociative patterning for
4 98 Campbell and Jones somatic anxiety and self-confidence. In fact, the intensity and frequency in the case of somatic anxiety and self-confidence showed associative patterning; somatic anxiety intensity and frequency both increased during the precompetition period, and selfconfidence intensity and frequency both remained stable. Purpose and Rationale The purpose of the present study was to examine the precompetition temporal patterning of competitive anxiety and self-confidence responses of wheelchair sport participants. A recent study of able-bodied sports performers by Jones and Swain (1995) investigated anxiety and self-confidence responses in elite and nonelite cricketers by considering normative rather than state responses. Jones and Swain found this to be a less intrusive method as subjects, instead of completing a state questionnaire immediately prior to competition, were asked to complete a questionnaire inquiring about their normal precompetition responses in their own time away from the competitive environment. Specifically, subjects were asked to complete the trait version of the CSAI-2 (Albrecht & Feltz, 1987), that is the Competitive Trait Anxiety Inventory (CTAI-2), based on how they normally felt irnmediately prior to going out to bat in a cricket game. The findings were similar to those of a previous study that considered state anxiety and self-confidence responses in swimmers (Jones, Hanton, & Swain, 1994). It would appear that the CTAI-2 is a less intrusive measure and also is capable of producing normative responses which are comparable to results previously reported for state responses. The present study, therefore, employed the CTAI-2 to investigate normative competitive anxiety and self-confidence responses in wheelchair sport participants. Jones and Swain's study considered how cricketers normally respond in a specific environmental context, that is, immediately before the specific situation of batting in a cricket game rather than their normal response to a cricket game in general. This approach is distinct from the traditionally used trait-oriented approach which assumes an individual's response is primarily a property of the person and variations in the stressful situation are of little importance. The approach used by Jones and Swain is similar to the process-oriented approach advocated by several researchers in the area of stress and coping. The process-oriented perspective, unlike the trait-oriented perspective, gives significance to the environmental context and personal dispositions in determining an individual's response (Bolger, 1990; Folkman, Lazarus, Dunkel-Schetter, DeLongis, & Gruen, 1986). Jones and Swain's study, while acknowledging the importance of the environmental context, only considered normative responses at one specific time period of a stressful encounter, that is, immediately prior to a batting performance in a cricket game. Lazarus, an eminent researcher in the area of stress and coping since the early 1950s, has suggested that it is important to examine stress as a process that unfolds over time (Lazarus, 1990,1993). This is because the emotions experienced during a stressful encounter are characterized by change. Initially, an individual may feel anxious, then angry after a few moments of interchange, then guilty, then joyful (Folkman & Lazarus, 1985). The sequence of feelings experienced reflects the changing meaning or significance of what is happening as the stressful encounter unfolds. Therefore, to consider just one time period or combine together stages of a stressful encounter would give a limited picture of what is happening (Lazarus, 1990,1993).
5 Anxiety and Self-confidence in Wheelchair Sport 99 Previous research into precompetition anxiety would support the importance of considering the dynamics of competitive situations because findings have shown consistent changes in cognitive and somatic anxiety during the precompetition time period. Martens et al. (1990) suggested that the consistent changes in anxiety responses during the precompetition time period could be due to athletes using similar pre-event routines and coping strategies at particular time periods of the competition process. This would support Compas, Malcarne, and Banez's (1992) idea of coping styles which implies that individuals show consistency in the coping strategies they use under certain circumstances, or with similar stressors. According to Lazarus and Folkman's (1984) conceptual model of stress and coping, how we cope directly influences the emotions we experience. Therefore, if individuals possess preferred ways of coping with certain stressful situations, we may expect to see consistency in the emotional responses they experience under similar situations. Based on the conceptual suggestions of Compas et al., (1992), and Lazarus and Folkrnan (1984), the present study attempted to extend Jones and Swain's study of cricketers by examining consistency of emotional responses at different time periods during the precompetition time period. Specifically, the present study investigated the intensity, frequency, and direction of normative anxiety and self-confidence responses of wheelchair sport participants at three time periods prior to an important competition: 1 week before, 2 hours before, and 30 minutes before. These time periods were selected based on previous research of precompetition temporal patterning of state anxiety and self-confidence responses of nondisabled sport participants (Jones et a]., 1991; Gould et al., 1984; Swain & Jones, 1992). To the authors' knowledge, no previous research has considered normative precompetition temporal patterning of anxiety and self-confidence responses. Thus, tentative hypotheses were formulated based on Martens et al's (1990) theoretical predictions of state responses and also previous research findings. The hypotheses proposed for intensity were that cognitive anxiety and self-confidence intensity would remain stable during precompetition, and somatic anxiety would increase as competition approached. The hypotheses proposed for frequency were that cognitive and somatic anxiety frequency would increase during precompetition, and self-confidence frequency would remain stable as competition approached. Because no previous research has examined changes in direction of anxiety as a function of proximity of competition onset, no hypotheses were formulated for this variable. Participants The participants comprised of 103 male (n = 87) and female (n = 16) wheelchair sport participants whose ages ranged from 19 to 46 years old (mean = ; SD = 7.54). All the participants participated at national level or above in a variety of sports: wheelchair basketball (n = 65), track and field (n = 21), and swimming (n = 17). The participants possessed a range of impairments from lower limb amputations to tetraplegia. Sixty-nine of the respondents had gained their disability as a result of a trauma and 34 were born with their disability. All participants volunteered to participate in the study.
6 100 Campbell and Jones Measures Modified Version of the Competitive Trait Anxiety Inventory-2 (CTAT-2). Previous authors (e.g., Albrecht & Feltz, 1987; Jones & Swain, 1995) have shown that the CSAI-2 can be adapted to measure normative competitive anxiety and self-confidence responses by altering the test instructions so that subjects can complete it based on how they "normally" feel. Similar procedures of altering test instructions so subjects can complete a questionnaire based on how they "normally" feel, or how they feel "right now," have been used by other developers of state-trait measures (e.g., Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub, 1989; Spielberger, Gorsuch, & Lushene, 1970; Vealey, 1986). The CTAI-2 comprises 27 items with 9 items in each of the cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence subscales. Examples of cognitive anxiety items include "I am concerned about this competition" and "I am concerned about performing poorly," whereas somatic anxiety items include "I feel nervous" and "my body feels tense." Self-confidence items include "I feel at ease" and "I am confident about performing well." The CTAI-2 measures intensity of the anxiety response but was modified to also measure frequency and direction dimensions of the response. The frequency subscale previously had been developed by Swain and Jones (1993) and the direction subscale by Jones and Swain (1992). Therefore, participants were asked to respond on three response scales (intensity, frequency, and direction) for each of the 27 items. htensity. The intensity response subscale asked each subject to rate the intensity with which each symptom was normally experienced on a scale from 1 ("not at all") to 4 ("very much so"). Thus, possible intensity scores on each subscale ranged from 9 to 36. Frequency. The frequency response subscale asked "How frequently do you experience this thought or feeling at this stage?" This was measured on a 7-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 ("not at all") to 7 ("all of the time"). Frequency scores were summed for cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and self-confidence, with each subscale score ranging from 9 (low) to 63 (high). Direction. The direction response subscale asked "Rate the degree to which the intensity of each symptom you experience is either facilitative or debilitative to your subsequent performance." This was assessed on a scale from -3 ("very debilitative") to +3 ("very facilitative"). Responses were scored only for the cognitive and somatic items and not for the self-confidence items, as previous research has shown a strong positive relationship between self-confidence intensity and direction (Jones et al., 1993). Possible direction scores on the cognitive and somatic subscales ranged from -27 to +27. Procedure Permission was obtained from the appropriate sport governing bodies to approach individuals who competed at international or national level in the three sports sampled; basketball, track and field athletics, and swimming. All wheelchair sport participants were asked to complete the modified CTAI-2 based on how they normally felt at three points in time prior to an important competition: 1 week before, 2 hours before, and 30 minutes before. Individuals were asked to complete the modified CTAI-2 away from the competition environment and were presented with riented instructions modified-from the recommendations of Martens
7 Anxiety and Self-confidence in Wheelchair Sport 101 et al. (1990). The instructions to each subject emphasized the need for honesty and for an indication of his or her normal thoughts and feelings at the three points in time prior to an important competition. The subjects also were assured of confidentiality of these responses. Results Separate repeated measures of one-way multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) were conducted on each of the three subscales (i.e., intensity, frequency, and direction) of the modified CTAI-2 in order to examine whether there were any changes across the three time points1. Where MANOVAs were significant, univariate repeated measures analyses were carried out; differences between means were investigated by follow-up Tukey tests. Intensity The MANOVA for intensity was significant, Wilk's lambda =.23, F(6,97) = 54.88, p <.01. Means, standard deviations, and F ratios for the follow-up univariate analyses are shown in Table 1. These analyses showed differences for all three of the intensity subscales. Tukey tests on the cognitive anxiety intensity means indicated an increase from 1 week to 2 hours (p <.01), and from 1 week to 30 minutes (p <.01) before competition. No difference was found in cognitive anxiety intensity from 2 hours to 30 minutes before competition. Somatic anxiety intensity increased (p <.01) from 1 week to 2 hours to 30 minutes before competition. Tukey tests showed selfconfidence to increase from 1 week to 2 hours before competition (p <.01), and then decrease from 2 hours to 30 minutes before competition (p < -01). The level of selfconfidence at 30 minutes decreased to a similar value reported for 1 week before competition. Frequency The MANOVA for frequency was significant, Wilk's lambda =.32, F(6, 97) = 33.05,~ <.0l. Means, standard deviations, and F ratios for the follow-up univariate analyses are shown in Table 2. These analyses showed differences for all three subscales. Cognitive and somatic anxiety frequency subscales showed the same temporal patterning with increases (p <.01) from 1 week to 2 hours to 30 minutes Table 1 Means, Standard Deviations, and F Ratios for Intensity Subscales 1 week 2 hours 30 minutes mean (SD) mean (SD) mean (SD) df F Cognitiveanxiety (5.27) (5.83) (6.89) 2, " Somatic anxiety (4.46) (5.12) (13.0) 2, * Self-confidence (5.58) (8.70) (6.75) 2, " Note. *p <.01.
8 102 Campbell and Jones before competition. Tukey tests showed self-confidence frequency to increase (p <.01) from 1 week to 30 minutes before competition. No increases in selfconfidence frequency occurred between any other time points. Direction The MANOVA for direction was significant, Wilk's lambda =.86, F(4, 99) = 3.90, p <.01. Means, standard deviations, and F ratios for the follow-up tests are shown in Table 3. These analyses showed no differences between time periods for cognitive anxiety (p =.07), or somatic anxiety direction (p =.15). This suggests that direction differed across time as a function of the interaction between cognitive and somatic anxiety, but effects on the separate anxiety subcomponents were not evident. Discussion This study examined the normal precompetition anxiety and self-confidence responses of wheelchair sport participants using a multidimensional competitive anxiety approach. The findings did not support the hypothesis that cognitive anxiety intensity would remain stable over the three precompetition time periods. The results showed that cognitive anxiety intensity was stable on the day of competition, but that it increased from 1 week to 2 hours before competition. Although Multidimensional Anxiety Theory predicts that state cognitive anxiety intensity should remain stable before competition, some research with able-bodied athletes Table 2 Means, Standard Deviations, and F Ratios for Frequency Subscales 1 week 2 hours 30 minutes mean (SD) mean (SD) mean (SD) df F Cognitive anxiety (9.23) (10.76) (13.48) 2, " Somatic anxiety (8.05) (10.13) (11.71) 2, * Self-confidence (10.57) (10.41) (10.65) 2, * Note. *p <.01. Table 3 Means, Standard Deviations, and F Ratios for Direction Subscales 1 week 2 hours 30 minutes mean (SD) mean (SD) mean (SD) df F Cognitive anxiety 3.16 (8.47) 1.30 (10.26) 2.07 (1 1.34) 2, Somatic anxiety 3.84 (7.40) 2.52 (7.93) 4.03 (10.36) 2, Note. *p < -05.
9 Anxiety and Self-confidence in Wheelchair Sport 1 03 has shown that state cognitive anxiety intensity increased on the day of competition (Jones & Cale, 1989; Krane & Williams, 1987; Swain & Jones, 1993). It would appear that wheelchair sport participants may not conform to theoretical predictions but, at the same time, do not necessarily show a distinct cognitive anxiety intensity patterning to nondisabled sport participants. Support was found for the hypothesis that somatic anxiety intensity increases as the competition approaches, thus supporting previous studies of nondisabled athletes (e.g., Gould et al., 1984; Jones et al., 1991; Swain & Jones, 1993). The somatic anxiety intensity mean scores, however, seem rather high when compared to Jones and Swain's (1995) study, which used the same normative measure of anxiety as in the study reported here. This difference is only evident for somatic anxiety because the cognitive anxiety intensity and self-confidence results are very similar to those reported by Jones and Swain. The present study showed a mean somatic anxiety intensity score at 30 minutes before competition of 27.22, com- Dared to Jones and Swain's reported mean value of Possible reasons for this hiscrepancy between the able-bodied sample of Jones and Swain and the disabled sample examined in this study could relate to individual difference variables within the disabled group (e.g., nature and severity of disability). This is supported by a large standard deviation reported for 30 minutes before competition (i.e., 13.0), whereas those reported for 1 week (4.46) and 2 hours (5.12) are comparable to standard deviations reported for cognitive anxiety and self-confidence. The large variability in somatic anxiety intensity responses just prior to competition is interesting. Potentially, certain physical disabilities (i.e., spinal cord injury) can disturb the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which is associated with the somatic anxiety response (Campbell, 1992). The ANS is innervated by spinal nerves between lumbar vertebrae 2 (L2) and thoracic vertebrae 1 (TI) (Guttmann, 1976). A spinal lesion, therefore, between L2 and T1 would cause varying degrees of disturbance to the ANS and, a lesion above TI would cause no spinal nerve innervation of the ANS. As a consequence, lower levels of somatic anxiety symptoms would be expected (e.g., lower heart rate and sweating). However, in the present study, unusually high levels of somatic anxiety symptoms are reported. Subsequent inspection of the somatic anxiety intensity scores of the four subjects in the sample who had a lesion above T1 revealed a mean of While this is substantially Iower than the mean for the whole sample (27.22), these subjects still reported experiencing symptoms of which, in theory, they should not have been aware. However, it is important to emphasize that the somatic anxiety scale of the CTAI-2 measures perceptions of what is effectively physiological arousal rather.-. than the actual physiological response. Therefore, a possiblekxplanation is that the disabled athletes may use coping strategies, such as imagery, in order to simulate somatic anxiety symptoms because these symptoms may be perceived to be necessary for optimal performance. The results for self-confidence showed an inverted-u pattern with an increase from 1 week to 2 hours before com~etition. and then-a decrease from 2 hours to 30 minutes before competition. Multidimensional Anxiety Theory predicts that self-confidence should remain stable during precompetition unless expectations of success are changing. The hypothesis proposed concerning self-confidence intensity patterning was, therefore, rejected. However, the decrease in self-confidence immediately prior to competition was not necessarily unexpected because previous research has shown a similar patterning in female athletes (Jones& Cale, 1989; Jones
10 1 04 Campbell and Jones et al., 1991). A possible explanation for females having a drop in self-confidence is that they experience a different sport socialization to males (Jones & Cale, 1989) in that males are taught a more competitive orientation to life than females (Andersen & Williams, 1987). A study by Gill (1988) supported this, with males showing a higher competitiveness and win orientation, and females a higher goal orientation. This could relate to the present study as Sherrill(1986) stated that sport socialization for disabled athletes is different from nondisabled athletes. Possibly, as with females, individuals with disabilities are not taught a competitive orientation to life and, as a consequence, do not develop the personal dispositions and skillssuch as competitiveness and coping strategies-to maintain self-confidence in a competitive situation. This is supported by Crocker and Bouffard's (1990) suggestion that individuals with physical disabilities should be taught appropriate coping strategies to function effectively in a physical activity setting. Research by Zoerink (1992) also suggests a difference in sport socialization between individuals with acquired and congenital disabilities. Future research should identify factors which influence a disabled sport participant's ability to maintain self-confidence in a competitive situation. Research by Krane and Williams (1987) has identified that elite nondisabled athletes are more able to control their thoughts prior to competition and maintain high levels of self-confidence. Researchers may wish to consider whether the independent variable of skill level has the same influence on selfconfidence patterning in disabled sport participants. Support was found for the hypotheses concerning the patterning of cognitive and somatic anxiety frequency because both showed increases across each time period. This supports previous research of state responses with nondisabled sport participants (Swain & Jones, 1993). These findings are interesting when considering that Multidimensional Anxiety Theory proposes that cognitive anxiety intensity does not change precompetition. In the present study, cognitive anxiety intensity increased from 1 week to 2 hours before competition but remained stable from 2 hours to 30 minutes before competition. The frequency of the cognitive intrusions, however, increased progressively at each time point. This would suggest that although the intensity of cognitive anxiety remains stable on the day of competition, the frequency of the cognitive intrusions is increasing, therefore, the nature of cognitive anxiety must change during the precompetition time period. This provides further evidence that the intensity-alone approach to competitive anxiety is limited for disabled as well as nondisabled populations. Contrary to the hypothesis proposed, self-confidence frequency did not remain stable during precompetition but showed an increase from 1 week to 30 minutes before competition. This is interesting when considering that self-confidence intensity showed a decrease immediately prior to competition. The findings for intensity and frequency would appear to suggest that lower self-confidence cognitions are being experienced more frequently immediately prior to competition. Further research, therefore, is needed to examine potential factors that may influence the nature and frequency of self-confidence cognitions during precompetition. Finally, the results from the present study showed no change in directional perceptions of somatic and cognitive anxiety as the onset of competition approached. The mean results reported for the three precompetition time periods were positive suggesting that wheelchair sport participants normally perceive the intensity of theirprecompetition cognitive and somatic anxiety responses as facilitative to their subsequent performance. However, large standard deviations were reported, sug-
11 Anxiety and Self-confidence in Wheelchair Sport 105 gesting large between-subject variability. Future research, therefore, may wish to consider the influence of individual difference variables on directional perceptions of cognitive and somatic anxiety, for example, skill level. In summary, the findings from the present study suggest that wheelchair sport participants' normative precompetition anxiety and self-confidence responses change as a function of proximity of competition. The present study, therefore, supports the importance of adopting a process-oriented perspective that examines how individuals respond at different stages of a stressful encounter. The changes reported in precompetition anxiety and self-confidence responses were similar to those previously reported for state responses of nondisabled sport participants. Consequently, the present study provides additional support with normative anxiety and self-confidence responses for the importance of considering the dynamics of the precompetition time period. Two particular findings, however, would suggest that further research is needed to identifjj and understand how certain variables may influence the maintenance of wheelchair sport participants' self-confidence before competition, and why the somatic anxiety intensity reported was so high. Apossible limitation of the present study is that in assessing normative responses, no acknowledgment is given for the fact that individuals may appraise competitive situations differently due to changing personal and situational factors, for example, match importance, opponent strength, and perceived ability. However, certain factors that influence appraisal were controlled as individuals were asked how they would normally respond to a competitive event which they perceived as important rather than a competitive event in general. Future studies investigating normative responses may consider acknowledging appraisal of specific competitive events by adopting an intrasubject design. This type of design, advocated by Crocker and Bouffard (1992), involves making generalizations from repeated assessment of state responses. Finally, the present study provides further support with a disabled sport population for Jones' (1991,1995) argument that the intensity-alone approach to competitive anxiety is limited. References Albrecht, R.R., & Feltz, D.L. (1987). Generality and specificity of attention to competitive anxiety and sport performance. Journal of Sport Psychology, 9, Andersen, M.B., & Williams, J.M. (1987). Gender and sport competition anxiety: A anxiety-performance relationship. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 10, Bolger, N. (1990). Coping as a personality process: Aprospective study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, Burton. D. (1988). Do anxious swimmers swim slower? Re-examining the elusive anxietyperformance relationship. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 10, Burton, D. (1990). Multimodal stress management in sport: Current status and future directions. In G. Jones & L. Hardy (Eds.), Stress and perfonnance in sport. Chichester, UK: Wiley. Campbell, I.G. (1992). Physiological and metabolic responses of wheelchair athletes to endurance exercise. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Loughborough University, UK. Carver, C.S., Scheier, M.F., & Weintraub, J.K. (1989).Assessing coping strategies: Atheoretically based approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56, Compas, B.E., Malcarne, V.L., & Banez, G.A. (1992). In B.N. Carpenter (Ed.), Personal coping: Theory, research, and application. Westport, CT: Praeger. Crocker, P.R.E. (1993). Sport and exercise psychology and research with individuals with
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