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The Dynamics of Psychological Momentum: A Quantitative Study in Natural Sport Situations

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Abstract:

The present study examined the dynamics of competitive anxiety and self-confidence, as well as the relationships between these variables, during athletes' experiences of psychological momentum (PM). Male national level table tennis players (Study 1) and swimmers (Study 2) watched one of their recent competitions, which included a PM experience. At the same time they indicated their moment-to-moment levels of competitive anxiety and self-confidence by using a computer mouse. Curve estimation showed that competitive anxiety and self-confidence decreased and increased over time, respectively. Moreover, the dynamical patterns were more nonlinear for swimmers than for table tennis players, indicating that the PM experience is dependent on the sport context. Consistent with the opposite dynamics of competitive anxiety and self-confidence, correlation analyses revealed a strong negative relationship between these variables, suggesting that PM constraints the relationship between competitive anxiety and self-confidence. Findings of this study offer new insights into the dynamics of PM and its ecological embedment.

Keywords: AFFECTS; CURVE ESTIMATION; DYNAMICAL APPROACH; MOUSE PARADIGM; WINDOWED CORRELATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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