Competitive anxiety and perceived control: A mountain biker’s experience of an acceptance and commitment program

Ayers, Joanne (2010). Competitive anxiety and perceived control: A mountain biker’s experience of an acceptance and commitment program Master's Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Ayers, Joanne
Thesis Title Competitive anxiety and perceived control: A mountain biker’s experience of an acceptance and commitment program
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-10-22
Thesis type Master's Thesis
Supervisor Stephanie Hanrahan
Total pages 55
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The relationship between competitive anxiety and sporting performance has received a considerable amount of attention in recent years. The majority of literature that has focused on competitive anxiety, however, has concentrated on factors that influence the effect of competitive anxiety on performance, providing little insight into how different psychological approaches play a role in managing competitive anxiety. Perceived control has been identified as a significant factor in the aetiology and maintenance of anxiety (Barlow, 2002). It has been suggested that increasing athletes’ levels of perceived control through psychotherapy might aid the management of their competitive anxiety. Further, the concept of anxiety has not been explored within the context of comorbid anxiety disorders. To explore these issues, a case is presented in which an acceptance and commitment program is applied to an endurance mountain biker with competitive anxiety and GAD. Semi-structured interviews were used to investigate the participant’s experience of competitive anxiety and how it affected his performance pre- and post-intervention. Quantitative measures of acceptance, anxiety, perceived control, and mindfulness were also completed by the participant. Inductive analysis revealed several dimensions associated with the participant’s competitive anxiety experience including: (a) an increased awareness of the difference between responding to anxiety and responding to his mountain biking experience, (b) the development of new coping strategies, and (c) the effect of a new interpretation of anxiety on performance. These findings suggest that acceptance may increase athletes’ perceived control over their responses to anxiety, and that mindfulness, through attentional control, may increase athletes’ perceived control over their performance and goals. Research and practical implications of this study are discussed.
Keyword Competitive
Anxiety
Acceptance and commitment

 
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