n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Changes in state anxiety prior to competition and exercise psychology

Volume 20, Issue Issue-21
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


It has been shown that competitive anxiety can negatively affect athletic performance. Psychological interventions must be used in the pre-competition period to prevent the debilitative effects of state anxiety. The aim of the present study was to investigate the temporal changes in state anxiety in the period leading up to competition. Male high school swimmers (N=62) participated in the study. A cross-sectional quantitative research design that used the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) to measure state anxiety was employed. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Baseline and precompetitive state anxiety scores were analyzed by means of the paired t-test. The results showed that there were significant differences (p < 0.000) between state anxiety scores measured at baseline (seven days before the competition) and at precompetition (one hour before competition). Again, there were significant differences between baseline and precompetitive cognitive state anxieties (t = -10.750) and baseline and precompetitive somatic state anxieties (t = -21.275). It was concluded that both cognitive and somatic state anxieties significantly increase before competition among high school swimmers. It is recommended that both coaches and swimmers utilize strategic psychological intervention programmes in order to reduce precompetitive state anxiety.

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