Pre-Competition Anxiety and Self-Confidence in Collegiate Track and Field Athletes: A Comparison between African American and non-Hispanic Caucasian Men and Women

Submitted by Ms. Vasiliki Anagnostopoulos 1*, Michele M. Carter Ph.D 2*, and Carol Weissbrod Ph.D 3*

1*MA, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington, DC.

2* Professor, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington DC

3*Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington DC

Vasiliki received her BA from Princeton university where she was a varsity soccer athlete.  Since then she has earned her MA in Psychology from American University.  She is currently working on completing her dissertation under the direction of Dr. Carter.  She works primarily in the area of anxiety and related disorders and sport performance.

Abstract                                                    

This study examined ethnic differences in the intensity and direction of pre-competition cognitive and somatic anxiety and self-confidence among Division I collegiate track and field men and women athletes.  At a regular season track meet participants from seven Division I schools were approached and agreed to complete survey questions addressing competitive anxiety and win orientation.  Study measures within three days of the event.  Results were first analyzed by gender.  It was found that the only difference between African American men and non-Hispanic Caucasian men athletes was that African American men reported lower cognitive direction scores than non-Hispanic Caucasian men. Among women, results indicated that African American women athletes reported less cognitive anxiety intensity and higher self-confidence than non-Hispanic Caucasian women.  Interestingly, results also indicated few differences between African American women athletes as compared to either group of men athletes.  Cultural factors are discussed that explain why African American women athletes are different from other groups.

Keywords: ethnicity, gender, competitiveness

Continue reading