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Arousal Stress Anxiety


									      Chapter 4

Arousal, Stress, & Anxiety
• Arousal – blend of physiological &
  psychological activity in a person AND the
  intensity at the moment.
• Arousal intensity is on a continuum – low
  (coma) to high (increased heart rate &
  respiration, sweat)
• Can be pleasant or unpleasant
• A negative emotional state that has worry,
  nervousness, apprehension and
  associated with activation or arousal of the
• Two parts:
  – cognitive anxiety – thought – worry,
  – Somatic anxiety – the degree of physical
    activity perceived.
Two types of anxiety
1) State anxiety – the ever-changing mood
• Cognitive state anxiety – the degree one
    worries or has negative thoughts
• Somatic state anxiety – the moment-to
    moment changes in perceived
    physiological activation.
Two types of anxiety – cont.
2) Trait Anxiety - a part of the personality –
  an acquired behavioral tendency of
  disposition that influences behavior
• This predisposes an individual to perceive
  as threatening things that really aren’t
• They may respond with state anxiety
  reactions that do not really fit the situation.
• High trait-anxious people usually have
  more state anxiety in highly competitive,
  evaluative situations than do people with
  lower trait anxiety.
Measuring anxiety and arousal
• May look at physical changes: heart rate,
  respiration, skin conductivity, biochemistry
• May have the person report “my hands are
  sweating.” Called – self-report measures
• May rate low to high
Generally, if you have high trait anxiety, you
 will have high state anxiety.

  – May be situation specific.
  – May learn coping skills to over come this.
Stress and stress process

• Stress – occurs when there is a
 substantial imbalance between the
 physical & psychological demands placed
 on an individual and his/her response
 capability – and under conditions where
 failure to meet the demand has important
Four stage stress process

 You can intervene at any time
Sources of stress and anxiety
1-Situational sources of stress
  – event importance
  – uncertainty
2-Personal sources of stress
  – trait anxiety
  – self-esteem
  – social physique anxiety
How arousal & anxiety affect
1) Drive Theory – as an individual’s arousal
   or state anxiety increase, so does his or
   her performance.
- Related to social-
   facilitation theory
Social facilitation theory – predicts that the
  presence of others helps performance on
  well-learned or simple tasks and inhibits or
  lessens performance on unlearned or
  complex tasks.
• So increased arousal will bring out the
  dominant response
• Implication – eliminate audiences and
  evaluation in learning situations
• 2) Inverted-U Hypothesis –as arousal
  increases, so does performance up to an
  optimal point where best performance
  results, Further increases in arousal,
  however, cause performance to decline.
Inverted C theory – cont.
• Maximum arousal level is lower when:
  need fine muscle control (archery)

                           or have to make
           complex decisions (quarterback).
• Maximum arousal level is higher when:
  skills are mostly large muscle actions
  (weight lifter) or simple decisions are
  needed (cross country skiing).
3) Individualizing zones of
optimal functioning
• Athletes have a zone of optimal state
  anxiety in which their best performance
• Does NOT have to be at the midpoint of
  the continuum, but varies with each
• Optimal level is NOT one point, but a
Individualizing Zones of Optimal
Functioning – cont.
4) Other Theories - un-tested or
little support
a) Multidimensional Anxiety Theory
• Looks at how somatic anxiety and
  cognitive anxiety affect performance.
b) Catastrophe Model – performance
  deteriorates with worry + high physical
c) Reversal – how the athlete interprets
  arousal will impact performance. (Can
  shift positive to negative and vice versa.)
Anxiety – Direction and intensity
• How an athlete interprets the direction of
  anxiety (facilitating or debilitating) has a
  significant effect on the anxiety-
  performance relationship.
Anxiety – Direction and intensity
– cont.
• To understand the anxiety-performance
  relationship, both the intensity (how much
  anxiety one feels) and direction
  (a person’s interpretation of anxiety as
  being facilitating or debilitating to
  performance) must be considered.
• Coaches should help athletes realize that
  arousal & anxiety are conditions of
  excitement - not fear
Significance of Arousal-
Performance Views
• Arousal and state anxiety do not always have a
  negative effect on performance—they can be
  facilitative or debilitative depending on the
• Self-confidence and enhanced perceptions of
  control are critical to perceiving anxiety as
Significance of Arousal-
Performance Views – cont.
• Some optimal level of arousal leads to peak
  performance, but the optimal levels of
  physiological activation and arousal-related
  thoughts (worry) are not the same.
• Interaction of physiological activation
  and arousal interpretation is more
  important than actual levels of each.
Significance of Arousal-
Performance Views – cont.
• Psyching-up” strategies should be employed
  with caution because it is difficult to recover
  from a catastrophe.
• Athletes should have well-practiced self-talk,
  imagery, and goal-setting skills for coping with
Why does arousal influence
• Increases in arousal cause muscle to
  become more tense and this may interfere
  with coordination
Attention and concentration
Increased arousal
• Increased arousal causes a narrowing of a
  performer’s attentional field, misses
  important cues AND they scan the field of
  play less often.
• Attention & concentration change
  – Under-aroused, the focus is too broad – sees
     relevant AND irrelevant cues
Implications for practice
1) Identify the optimal combination of
   arousal related emotions needed for best
   a) Help athletes find this combination
   b) Help athletes use strategies to
   maintain this combination.
Implications for practice
• Recognize how personal and situational
  factors interact to influence arousal,
  anxiety, and performance
Implications for practice
3) Recognize the signs of increased arousal and
    anxiety in participants
   – cold, clammy hands
   – need to urinate frequently,
   – profuse sweating,
   – negative self-talk
   – dazed look in the eyes
   – increased muscle tension
   – butterflies in stomach
   – feel ill, headache, dry mouth, constantly
      sick, trouble sleeping, can't concentrate,
      performs better in noncompetitive situations.
Implications for practice – cont.
Tailor coaching & instructional practices to
    Ex- High trait anxiety + low self-esteem
    in a very evaluative situation = de-
    emphasize situation and stress athlete’s
• Moderate levels of trait anxiety + moderate
  self esteem in high stress = ok
• Low trait anxiety + high self-esteem in a
  non-threatening environment = must have
  pep talk
Implications for practice – cont.
Develop confidence in performers to help them
  cope with increased stress and anxiety.
• To increase confidence:
   – foster a positive environment, i.e., give
     frequent and sincere encouragement
   – instill a positive orientation to mistakes and
     losing. If losing becomes too important, they
     won’t get better.
   – provide many simulation situations – practice
     for the unexpected.

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