Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

_Association between Competitive Anxiety, Hardiness, and Coping Strategies: A Study of the National Handball Team

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

_Association between Competitive Anxiety, Hardiness, and Coping Strategies: A Study of the National Handball Team

Article excerpt

Introduction

Anxious states are a reaction of the organism to the possible threat that can happen in the future. It is associated with cognitive and physiological changes that may affect the effectiveness of learning and performance (Tomé-Lourido, Arce, & Ponte, 2019). Four types of anxiety depending on the context of its occurrence are distinguished by the interactional model: daily routines, physical danger, ambiguity, and social evaluation (Endler, Parker, Bagby & Cox, 1991). In addition to this classification, anxiety is divided into state and trait anxiety (Endler, Kantor, & Parker, 1994). While the former is a transient emotion marked by changes in arousal and feeling of tension, the later is an individual's propensity to respond anxiously. A term of competitive anxiety was developed to investigate changes in psychological states in athletes that occur in the context of the contest, which is associated with both social evaluation and physical danger.

Competitive anxiety is used to define changes in arousal and emotional state that occur in situations of competition (Martens, 1977). Like other types of anxiety, competitive anxiety includes somatic and cognitive components (Beck, Epstein, Brown, & Steer, 1988). According to the Yerkes-Dodson law, an optimal level of arousal is needed for efficient learning and performance (Diamond et al., 2006). However, there is evidence about variation in the dynamics of competitive anxiety changes between more and less experienced athletes (Huddleston, & Gill, 1981). According to Hanton, Neil and Mellalieu (2008), it is important to consider the perception of competitive anxiety by the athlete in the estimation of its impact on performance. Due to variation of the impact of the anxiety between facilitative and debilitative, it was assumed that the perception of one's state can have a strong influence on the outcome of the competition (Ntoumanis & Biddle, 2000). In addition, the study of Ha, Kang, and Han (2019) revealed cultural differences in anxiety trait, state, and competitive anxiety among professional basketball players. In addition to cross-cultural differences, gender, experience, and role in the team were identified as factors that affect the level of competitive anxiety (Ivaskevych et al., 2019).

Many characteristics of the handball player can affect the level of anxiety. In addition to cultural differences, Ha, Kang, and Han (2019) reported variations to depend on the roles of players in basketball teams. Similarly, there are gender differences in the prevalence of anxiety disorders (Asher, Asnaani, & Aderka, 2016), competitive anxiety (Ponseti Verdaguer, Sese, and Garcia-Mas, 2016; Kurimay, Pope-Rhodius, & Kondric, 2017), and physiological process during anxious states (Seo et al., 2017). Lesinger et al. (2018) discovered the influence of the training experience of competitive anxiety among junior handball players. However, age does not affect the level of competitive anxiety among adolescents (Lesinger et al., 2018). Therefore, age inequality is not a reason for differences in competitive anxiety scores. In addition to the described factors, coping strategies that are developed during childhood and affect the efficacy of stressful situations overcoming may have an influence on the level of competitive anxiety.

The choice of the coping strategies is a reflection of the behavioral response of a person during the exposure to significant and relevant stress (Eschenbeck et al., 2018). Therefore, coping strategies are defined as behavior and beliefs that are used by a person to overcome difficult situations that are exceeding the available resources (Eschenbeck et al., 2018). Additionally, according to Lazarus and Folkman (1984), coping strategies can be distinguished on the problem- and emotion-focused, reflecting the extent to which a person can affect the problem. If the person has a lack of resources or ability to change the situation than the emotional copings are developed. …

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