The relationship between anxiety and sports

Essay by mambueUniversity, Master'sA, October 2008

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�PAGE � �PAGE �1� Anxiety

The relationship between anxiety and sports


Anxiety is a reaction that is measured using various scales through the observation of cognitive and physiological symptoms that become evident in reaction to a stimulus. In relation to sports, anxiety is often associated with an upcoming performance. Anxiety could also be enhanced by the intense competition offered by sports. Anxiety in connection with sports is a good topic for research since could affect a person's athletic performance either positively or negatively (Mellalieu, Hanton & O'Brien, 2004).

Many researchers on different levels have studied the relationship between sports activities and various health benefits. In particular, sports activities are known to have positive effect on psychological aspects of a person's life. In some studies, it has been shown that sports activities could actually improve the psychological disposition of persons with severe illnesses, such as people with spinal cord injury.

Sports have been found to result in better mental health profile, especially if combined with various external factors, such as age, occupation, and marital status (Gioia, Cerasa, Di Lucente, Brunelli, Castellano & Traballesi, 2006).

The relationship between anxiety and sports is very complex, as it involves the specific and unique anxiety responses of each person and the effect of the differing sport types on the relationship. For example, the anxiety responses elicited by individual sports would differ from those elicited by contact sports. Individual and contact sports likewise cause different experiences of anxiety due to the different task demands of the sports (Mellalieu, Hanton & O'Brien, 2004). This paper shall analyze, mainly through a review of existing literature, the relationship and causal connections between anxiety and sports in general, and individual sports in particular. It is hoped that analysis of existing literature on the matter would yield positive findings and...