Multidimensional Theory Of Anxiety In Sport

Read Complete Research Material


Multidimensional theory of anxiety in sport

Multidimensional theory of anxiety in sport


The Multidimensional theory suggests that cognitive and somatic anxiety influence performance differently. According to this approach, players displaying higher cognitive anxiety or extreme scores (too high or too low) on somatic anxiety or lower self- confidence prior to the game perform more poorly. However, previous research has argued that the relationship between anxiety and performance also depends on the characteristics of the task. Thus, it has been suggested that there are optimal levels of anxiety for each type of motor skill which leads to higher performance. Generally, tasks demanding high physical effort are facilitated by high levels of anxiety while tasks demanding accuracy are better accomplished when anxiety is relatively low. In the case of table tennis, it is possible to suggest that it demands both high physical effort and accuracy: therefore this study was conducted to investigate the relationship between pre competitive state anxiety and performance in table tennis players. Thith -six young table tennis players (12-13 vrs.) volunteered to participate in this study, completing the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory for Children (CSAI-2C) 30 minutes prior to their first match in a regional competition. The results indicated that cognitive and somatic state anxiety and self-confidence do not allow us to make assumptions regarding performance as it was suggested by multidimensional theory. It seems that the characteristics of table tennis and individual differences influence athletes' performances more than the levels of anxiety themselves. Thus, athletes with different levels of anxiety may perform well if they adapt their personal characteristics to their styles of playing.


It has been recognized for many years that psychological factors play an important role in competition. In this way, the relationship between anxiety and athletic performance is widely studied. One of the explanations for this relationship is the multidimensional theory (Liebert and Morris, 1967). This theory suggests that anxiety consists of two subcomponents: cognitive and somatic, and they should influence performance differently. The cognitive anxiety is defined as the mental component of anxiety and in sport it is commonly manifested by negative expectations of performing a task and thus negative self-evaluation. According to Martens et al. (1990) there is a negative linear relationship between cognitive anxiety and performance.

The somatic anxiety refers to the physiological elements of the anxiety (Martens et al. 1990). It is reflected in such responses as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, clammy hands, butterflies in the stomach, and tense muscles. Martens et al. (1990) suggest that somatic anxiety has an inverted-U shaped relationship with performance, in a curvilinear fashion, with lower and higher levels of somatic anxiety being detrimental to performance.

Although the authors did not proposed the self-confidence as a subcomponent of anxiety. they included it in their studies of the relationship between anxiety and performance, referring to the self perceptions of confidence. Martens et al. (1990) proposed a linear relationship for self-confidence.

Craft et al. (2003) did a meta-analysis considering the multidimensional approach to the ...
Related Ads