Relationship between Goal Orientations, Self-Confidence and Multidimensional Trait Anxiety among Mexican-American Female Youth Athletes

Article excerpt

Preliminary evidence in sport research suggests that an interdependence may exist between athletes' motivational goals and their stress responses. The present study sought to establish this particular tenet of goal perspective theory (Duda & Nicholls, 1992) among a sample of culturally diverse adolescent athletes. Female volleyball players (N = 196) participating in a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Development Program completed the 13-item Task and Ego Orientation in Sport Questionnaire, the 13-item Trait Sport Confidence Inventory, and the 21-item Sport Anxiety Scale. The study examined the multivariate relationship among ego orientation, task orientation, sport self-confidence, and the three-trait anxiety dimensions of worry/concern, concentration disruption, and somatic anxiety. In addition, hierarchical multiple regression analyses provided support for the contention that self-confidence plays a mediating role in the goal orientation-trait anxiety relationship. Specifically, greater competitive tr ait anxiety was evidenced only among those highly ego-involved athletes reporting low self-confidence. These findings strongly suggest that coaches and sport psychologists endeavor to enhance their athletes' task involvement, yet also consider the interaction of motivational goals and self-confidence when assessing the stress responses of Mexican-American female athletes.

For numerous years sport psychologists and researchers have utilized Nicholl's (1984, 1992) achievement motivation theory as a means of attempting to determine how individuals are motivated to participate and perform in evaluative situations. Proponents of the achievement goal perspective have advocated the value of considering differences in goal orientations in the study of cognitive and affective responses as well as achievement-related behaviors within the sport arena (Duda, 1988, 1989). Nicholls (1978, 1990) notes that task and ego goals play a central role in the development of achievement behavior within sport, providing a mediating effect on achievement striving. These achievement goals define patterns of motivation that represent different ways of being attracted to, engaged in, and reactive to achievement-related outcomes (Ames, 1992).

Task orientation is characterized by individuals whose actions focus on developing new skills, placing high value on effort, and striving for task mastery based on self-referenced perceptions of ability. Conversely, ego orientation is characterized by individuals who attempt to demonstrate superior ability by outperforming others, thus utilizing a norm-based perception of ability (Duda, 1992; Jagacinski, 1992; Nicholls, 1989; Roberts, 1992). It is proposed that a task-involved athlete chooses more challenging tasks, experiences greater intrinsic interest in activities, and exerts more effort in difficult tasks. Further, these behaviors continue to be demonstrated by the task-involved athlete even though he or she may report low levels of perceived ability in the task. However, those athletes with a largely ego orientation and low perceived ability are prone to task avoidance, reduced effort, heightened anxiety, concentration disruption, and withdrawal from the activity in the face of failure (Duda, 1988, 198 9; Duda, Chi, & Newton, 1990; Duda, Chi, Newton, Walling, & Catley, 1995; Dweck, 1986; Jagacinski & Nicholls, 1990; White & Zellner, 1996).

Recent studies in goal perspective theory have investigated the role of goal orientations on a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and affective indices such as sustained involvement and persistence (Duda, 1988; Duda, Smart, & Tappe, 1989), beliefs about the perceived causes of success (Newton & Duda, 1992), participation motivation (Dweck, 1986; White & Duda, 1991), perceived purposes of sport involvement and sportspersonship (Duda, 1989; Roberts, Hall, Jackson, Kimiecik, & Tonymon, 1990; Ryska & Richey, 1999), academic performance (Ryska, in press), perceived means to goal attainment (Duda, Olson, & Templin, 1991; Kleiber & Roberts, 1981), as well as enjoyment, intrinsic interest, and competitive anxiety (Boyd, 1990; Ryan, Mims, & Koestner, 1983). …