Individual temporal differences in precompetition anxiety and hormonal concentration

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This investigation explored individual differences in hormonal concentration and directional perception of anxiety 24 hrs, 2 hrs and 1 hr before an important competition. Those who perceived their anxiety level as positive to performance (i.e. facilitators) showed an increase in testosterone concentration as time-to-event approached that contrasted markedly with those who perceived their anxiety intensity as negative to performance (i.e. debilitators). The facilitatory group also exhibited a lower cortisol response 2 hrs and 1 hr, relative to 24 hrs before the event, whilst the response of the debilitatory group was elevated as time-to-event approached. Finally, the facilitatory group evidenced a trend towards rapid elevations in all of the catecholamines, whilst the concentration amongst the debilitatory group remained stable as the event approached. The findings add further substance to the veracity of the directional construct in acting as the important distinguishing variable which accounts for significant individual differences. Additionally it addresses the mechanism by which the relationship between anxiety direction and performance may be brought about. Such underpinning biochemical mechanisms offer one possible yet long awaited explanation to aid our understanding of the pre-event anxiety direction response of competitive individuals. © 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.




Eubank, M., Collins, D., Lovell, G., Dorling, D., & Talbot, S. (1997). Individual temporal differences in precompetition anxiety and hormonal concentration. Personality and Individual Differences, 23(6), 1031–1039.

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