Competitive Anxiety and Coping Strategies in Young Martial Arts and Track and Field Athletes

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Competitive Anxiety and Coping Strategies in Young Martial Arts and Track and Field Athletes

This study is an examination of the relationship between competitive anxiety and coping strategies in young athletes. Sixty karatekas and 72 track and field athletes were the subjects of the study. The age of the athletes ranged between 18 and 25 years. All had been practicing their sports for 6-8 years. The research instruments employed are the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS).

Results show that martial arts athletes reported a significantly higher level of self-confidence and lower levels of cognitive and somatic anxiety compared to track and field athletes. The two groups also differed in regard to the use of coping strategies in stressful situations. For example, the karate athletes used more effective strategies such as task-oriented coping. In the next step of the study, the subjects were divided into two groups according to the level of performance (i.e. "winners" and "losers"). The "losers exhibited higher levels of anxiety, both cognitive and somatic, than "winners". They also had higher scores on less effective coping subscales, e.g. emotion-oriented and avoidance-oriented.

There is a significant interdependence between anxiety and level of performance in competitive stress situations. Future research should also consider the possible mediating role of other psychological factors, such as personality traits.

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