Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Effect of Swimming Abilityon the Anxiety Levels of Female College Students

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Effect of Swimming Abilityon the Anxiety Levels of Female College Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aims to determine changes in the anxiety levels of female college students in relation to their swimming skills. The results of the study were obtained from 141 female college students enrolled at the University of Kebangsaan Malaysia. Breaststroke was used in order to evaluate their swimming skills, while Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was used to evaluate their anxiety levels. The analysis and observations confirmed a moderately strong correlation (r = -0.407, sig .000) between the level of anxiety (state anxiety) experienced in the water and swimming skills. The results showed that learning how to swim decreases the anxiety levels of female college students. We suggest that taking up this activity might have benefits for students with high levels of anxiety.

Keywords: anxiety, physical exercise, female students, swimming

1. Introduction

Physical exercise has become increasingly popular as an effective method for maintaining one's health (Blumenthal et al., 1982). Moreover, regular physical activity has benefits for both physiological and psychological health (A?ç?, 2003; Binsinger et al., 2006). Similarly, a growing number of experimental studies and the existence of several plausible theoretical explanations support the idea that regular exercise yields mental health benefits as well (A?ç?, 2003). Evidence indicate that physical activities also significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety (Asztalos et al., 2012; Readdy & Ebbeck, 2012). A common feature of these studies is that they all employed aerobic exercises such as jogging, walking, swimming, cycling, aerobic dance, and non-aerobic exercise (weight training) (Boyll, 1985; Long & Haney, 1988; NOURT & Beer, 1989; A?ç?, 2003).

Measuring the effectiveness of a sport program does not only require a result-oriented program, but also the athletes' perception and evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions made by coaches and sports psychologists. Perceptions of ability and success of the athletes themselves are important because they are related to the commitment of the athletes to follow the training program as well as their willingness to participate in mental health education and be continuously involved in the program despite the absence of a coach and a psychologist. Integrated principles of biomechanics, physiology, and the nervous system in coordinating the movement must consider psychological factors (Majzub & Muhammad, 2010).

2. Anxiety as a Psychological Phenomenon

The study of anxiety, its antecedents, its relations with other psychological variables, and its consequences has a long history of theoretical and empirical attention within sport psychology (Smith et al., 2006). In fact, anxiety has been one of the most extensively researched topics in sports psychology (Jones, 1995; ANDREW et al., 1999; Woodman & Hardy, 2003; Jones et al., 2005; Smith et al., 2006; Polman et al., 2007). As a condition characterized by apprehension, tension or uneasiness, anxiety stems from the anticipation of real or imagined danger (Auweele et al., 1999; Liukkonen & Association, 2007). This relatively normal feeling affects almost everyone at some point in their lifetime. However, if the anxiety becomes excessive and unrealistic, it can interfere with normal functioning (Nieman, 2010).

3. Anxiety and Learning to Swim

Nowadays, at the time of growing popularity and availability of various forms of water recreation, swimming has become a desirable and even a necessary skill. Today, swimming is not merely a survival skill to prevent drowning, but primarily a sport and a form of relaxation and rehabilitation as well (Ziara, 2005). Therefore, it is recommended that swimming be a main subject for female students. In relation to this, an alarming development can also be observed: the number of female college students who are unwilling to participate in swimming classes, or sometimes openly avoiding them, has been on the increase. …

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