Hall, H. K., Kerr, A. W., & Matthews, J. (1998). Precompetitive anxiety in sport: The contribution of achievement goals and perfectionism. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20, 194-217.

The relationships between perfectionism, achievement goals, and temporal patterning of multidimensional state anxiety, and performance-related anxiety were evaluated in high school runners (M = 74; F = 45). Four assessments, using appropriate tools, were conducted at various stages starting one week before a cross-country meet.

Perfectionism was a consistent, significant predictor of cognitive anxiety. Perceived ability was a consistent predictor of confidence, ego contributed to the prediction of cognitive anxiety, and task goals predicted confidence. Concern over mistakes predicted cognitive anxiety; doubts about action predicted somatic anxiety; and personal standards were associated with confidence.

These factors suggest that appropriate mental skills which structure appraisals before competitions in a positive, justifiable, and behaviorally relevant manner will reduce anxiety in its various forms.

Implication. Imprecise competition preparations and mental skills contribute to competitive anxiety.

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