INTRODUCTIONThere has been a large amount of research concerning the multidimensional aspect of anxiety (Jones, Swain, & Cale, 1990; Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990, as cited in Swain & Jones, 1992). Anxiety consists of two subcomponents: cognitive and somatic anxiety. Cognitive anxiety is characterized by negative concerns and worries about performance, inability to concentrate, and disrupted attention (Davidson & Schwartz, 1976 as cited in Krane, 1994). Somatic anxiety consists of an individual`s perceptions of physical sensations of arousal, which are characterized by feelings such as sweaty palms, butterflies, and shakiness (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1990 as cited in Krane, 1994).
Caruso, Dzewaltowski, Gill, and McElroy (1990) confirmed that state anxiety is multidimensional and revealed that its psychological and physiological components change over time. Somatic anxiety tends to increase rapidly as the start of an event approaches, while cognitive anxiety increases more gradually. Self-confidence tends to decrease in females on the day a competitive event is to occur (Jones & Cale, 1989 as cited in Swain & Jones, 1992). As an event approaches, negative thoughts and feelings associated with competition increase (Swain and Jones, 1992). This accounts for the increase in cognitive anxiety.
The relationship between anxiety and performance has been carefully examined. Williams and Jenkins (1986) supported the relationship that is found between self-reported state anxiety and performance. They suggest that high anxiety levels lead to poor athletic performance. Better performance has been attributed to either lower levels of cognitive and somatic anxiety or higher levels of confidence (Martens, Burton, Verley, Bump, & Smith, 1990 as cited in Krane & Williams, 1994). Contradicting this finding are Parfitt, Hardy, and Pates (1995) who indicated that only somatic anxiety was related to performance. Other research has shown that there is an inverted-U relationship with somatic anxiety (Burton, 1988 as cited in Caruso et al., 1990). The inverted-U hypothesis states that an athlete will perform best when anxiety is moderate. Performance tends to deteriorate when anxiety is either too low or too high (Burton, 1988; Weinberg & Genuchi, 1980 as cited in Caruso et al., 1990).
Research has also been done on the gender differences concerning state anxiety levels. Male athletes typically display lower levels of anxiety and higher self-confidence than female athletes (Krane & Williams, 1994; Wark & Wittig, 1979; Scanlan & Passer, 1979). Krane and Williams (1994) found no gender differences for cognitive anxiety. They also demonstrated that the more experienced college player would show lower levels of cognitive and somatic anxiety than the less experienced player. However, they found no difference in the levels of self-confidence.
Along with the research on state anxiety, many instruments have been developed to measure anxiety levels. The CSAI-2, Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2, was developed to measure an athlete`s state cognitive and somatic anxiety and self-confidence (Martens, Burton, Vealey, Bump, & Smith, 1982 as cited in Smith, 1989). The only problem with the CSAI-2 is that it is a 27-item Likert-type scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being not at all and 4 being very much so. It takes approximately 3 to 10 minutes to complete. This is a concern for players and coaches because the scale could interrupt a player`s concentration during his/her preparation for a competitive event.
With the need for a less intrusive scale, Murphy, Greenspan, Jowdy, and Tammen (1989 as cited in Krane, 1994) created the Mental Readiness Form (MRF). In contrast to the CSAI-2, the MRF consists of only three items. Each item corresponds to the subscales of the CSAI-2 that measure the multidimensional components of anxiety. This aspect of the MRF makes it more attractive to researchers because coaches and players are more likely to agree to complete the shorter survey. The concurrent validity was examined by Krane (1994). She concluded that the MRF has adequate concurrent validity when compared to the CSAI-2. Krane also modified the MRF to ensure that the terms were bipolar. Her version, which is referred to as the MRF-3, is a 3-item Likert-type scale.
The purpose of this study is to use the MRF-3 to examine the state anxiety levels of women basketball players prior to a scheduled competitive event. The time before competition and the experience level of a player seem to have an effect on the level of state anxiety that one experiences. This study is intended to look at each of these components with the use of the less intrusive, truly bipolar MRF-3.
Traditionally-aged college women basketball players competing at the Division II level participated (N=34). They were from colleges in the Midwest and competed in a scheduled basketball tournament consisting of four teams. These participants were selected upon the consent of their coaches to participate in this study.
In order to ensure participation and to minimize the risk of concentration disruption, the Mental Readiness Form (MRF) was used. The MRF was designed by Murphy, Greenspan, Jowdy, and Tammen (1989 as cited in Krane, 1994) to measure the multidimensional measure of competitive state anxiety. It is a less intrusive measure than the CSAI-2 because it only takes a few seconds to complete. Krane (1994) modified the original MRF and created a third version; the MRF-3 (Appendix A). She replaced some of the phrases used in the original form in order to ensure that the terms were truly bipolar. Each subject was asked to fill out the modified 3-item Likert-type scale of 1 to 11, with 11 being worried, tense, and not confident.
The participants filled out the questionnaire three hours before (pretest) and again thirty minutes before (posttest) a scheduled competitive tournament game. In addition to filling out the MRF-3, each subject was asked to identify their educational level and starting status. Each participant`s school name and jersey number was asked in order to ensure the confidentiality and distinction of each player.
A 4x2 mixed design ANOVA was used to examine the effects of time and educational level on anxiety. The main effects for time (F (1,30) = 2.039, p >.05) and educational level (F (1,30) = .173, p >.05) were not significant. Furthermore, the interaction between time and educational level was also found to be not significant (F (3,30) = .311, p >.05). These results showed that time and educational level had no effect on the anxiety levels.
In addition, a 2x2 mixed design Analysis of Variance was also used to look at the effects of time and starter status on anxiety. The main effects for time (F (1,32) = 1.649, p >.05) and starter status (F (1,32) = .899, p >.05) were not significant. Moreover, the interaction between time and starter status was also not significant (F (1,32) = .002, p >.05). Therefore, the results indicated that time and starter status had no effect on the anxiety levels of the basketball players.
A 2x2 mixed design analysis of variance was used to examine the effects of time and starter status on the confidence level. The main effect for time was not significant (F (1,32) = 2.069, p >.05). However, the main effect for starter status was significant (F (1,32) = 4.567, p =.04), such that the starters had lower levels of confidence than the non-starters.
The original hypothesis was not supported by the data. There was no indication that a freshman starter had more anxiety than a sophomore, junior, or senior starter. In fact, freshmen and starters appeared to experience lower levels of anxiety. The pretest levels of anxiety for seniors were the only levels that were lower than freshmen.
Both education level and starter status appeared to have no effect on the anxiety levels of the participants. One of the reasons for this insignificance could be the small number of subjects. The number of participants was extremely low in this study. Another limitation to this study may have been the lack of control when conducting the survey. A wide variety of people administered the survey. Therefore, there was no control of instructions or exact time of the administration.
These results are consistent with the findings of Swain and Jones (1992), that indicated that negative thoughts and feelings associated with competition increase as an event approaches. The anxiety levels of the sophomores, juniors, and seniors did increase from pretest to posttest. However, the findings of Krane and Williams (1994) were contradicted in this study. They suggested that a less experienced player would indicate higher levels of anxiety than a more experienced player. This study showed that freshman had levels of anxiety that were both higher and lower than the more experienced senior, junior, and sophomore players. However, the freshmen levels were not significantly higher or lower. This may have been caused by the lack of minutes played by freshmen. Generally, freshmen do not have a large role on a college level team.
Competitive state anxiety is found in every sport. These results could pertain to any athlete preparing for a competitive event. All athletes should be aware of their anxiety levels in order to perform at an optimal level. The inverted-U hypothesis indicates that the level of performance decreases when anxiety is either too low or too high (Burton, 1988; Weinberg & Genuchi, 1980 as cited in Caruso et al., 1990). Future research should include the effect of a player`s knowledge of his/her anxiety level on performance.
Replication of this study should include a larger sample. In addition, the expected playing time a player has should also be evaluated when examining anxiety levels. The use of the MRF-3 gives a valid and swift indication of state anxiety levels. Future research should include the use of this measure to ensure the participation of numerous subjects.
Caruso, C.M., Dzewaltowski, D.A., Gill, D.L., & McElroy, M.A. (1990). Psychological and physiological changes in competitive state anxiety during noncompetition and competitive success and failure. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 12, 6-20.
Jones, G., & Swain, A. (1992). Relationships between sport achievement orientation and competitive state anxiety. Sport Psychologist, 6, 42-54.
Krane, V. (1994). The mental readiness form as a measure of competitive state anxiety. Sport Psychologist, 8, 189-202.
Krane, V., & Williams, J.M. (1994). Cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, and confidence in track and field athletes: The impact of gender, competitive level and task characteristics. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 25, 203-217.
Parfitt, G., Hardy, L., & Pates, J. (1995). Somatic anxiety and physiological arousal: Their effects upon a high anaerobic, low memory demand task. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 26, 196-213.
Scanlan, T.K., & Passer, M.W. (1979). Sources of competitive stress in young female athletes. Journal of Sport Psychology, 1, 151-159.
Smith, R.E. (1989). Conceptual and statistical issues in research involving multidimensional anxiety scales. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 11, 452-457.
Wark, K.A., & Wittig, A.F. (1979). Sex role and sport competition anxiety. Journal of Sport Psychology, 1, 248-250.
Williams, D.A., & Jenkins, J.O. (1986). Role of competitive anxiety in the performance of black college basketball players. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 63, 847-853.
Please fill in your school, jersey number, educational level, and whether or not you are a starter.
School _____________ Educational Level Freshman
Jersey # _______ Junior
Starter _______ Non-starter ________
Please circle the number that best pertains to you.
My thoughts are:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
NOT WORRIED WORRIED
My body feels:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
NOT TENSE TENSE
I am feeling:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
CONFIDENT NOT CONFIDENT