Davis, J. E., & Cox, R. H. (2002). Interpreting direction of anxiety within Hanin's individual zone of optimal functioning. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 14, 43-52.

This study examined Jones' (1991) directionality hypothesis and Hanin's (2000) individual zone of optimal functioning model. High-school swimmers' (N = 21) performances were related to cognitive and somatic anxiety. The relationships were then considered with regard to the two theories. The Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 was used to assess both forms of anxiety.

It was found that cognitive anxiety did relate to Hanin's theory, however, the relationship was particularly weak (3% of variance), and of little to no practical significance. Somatic anxiety did not relate. There was no relationship between the intensity of both anxiety forms and directionality. There was no significant relationship between Hanin's and Jones' theories.

Before abandoning the topic, the authors suggested conducting a similar investigation with superior athletes and using a different anxiety test.

Implication. Before using theories to guide practical applications, there should be considerable evidence-based support to justify such use. Theories without empirical support are dangerous guidelines for coaching.

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