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qwjeidjdjdjjdTheoretical Constructs of Anxiety Previous research conducted relating to anxiety and performance in athletics has been difficult to synthesize for a variety of reasons including methodological flaws such as a lack of clear operational definitions and a clear theoretical construct This section will establish operational definitions for the terms that will be used throughout the rest of this paper In addition it will provide an overview of the theories that have been used by researchers who have attempted to clarify the relationship between anxiety and performance in athletics The main problem that research on the relationship between anxiety and performance has encountered is that researchers have not adequately operationally defined the construct of anxiety Instead terms such as stress anxiety arousal and activation have been used interchangeably For the purposes of this paper the following operational definitions will be used for the terms anxiety and stress Stress is a state that results form the demands that are placed on the individual which require that person to engage in some coping behavior Jones 1990 Arousal can be considered to be a signal to the individual that he or she has entered a stressful state and is characterized by physiological signs Hardy et al 1996 Anxiety results when the individual doubts his or her ability to cope with the situation that causes him or her stress Hardy et al 1996 Another important point that needs to be clarified is the difference between state and trait anxiety Spielberger 1966 While state anxiety can be considered to be more situational in nature and is often associated with arousal of the autonomic nervous system trait anxiety can be thought of as a world view that an individual uses when coping with situations in his or her environment Spielberger 1966 Trait anxiety influences performances in that individuals with high trait anxiety will attend more to information related to state anxiety Hardy et
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