Psychological and Physiological Changes of Anxiety Prior a Swimming Competition

In the scientific circles, there are various ideas about anxiety. In the article under consideration, anxiety is defined as a special feeling that athletes frequently have before competition. The authors of the article are representatives of different departments (physical education, electrical and computer engineering, physiology etc.). This illustrates that the matter of anxiety overlaps a few spheres and is an important issue to study in the society. That is why there is a variety of supporting literature that covers the topic. The most authoritative ideas of Burton, Borkovec, Van Zwam, Hanton, Fenici find its particularization in the study. There is also correlation between works of Molander and Backman that are used in the paper. Anxiety literature indicates the significant role of the subject in the lives of people.
The study is based on the idea that anxiety influences athletes on the psychological and physiological levels. Anxiety plays its role in the performances of swimmers on the competitions. The main theory is that swimming competitions trigger anxiety, and the state manifests itself along with effecting cognitive and somatic functions. An objective of the paper is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the state of anxiety. The purpose of the work is to discover more about the relation between psychological and physiological manifestation of anxiety. It is also the aim of the study to examine the effect that anxiety has on athletes.

Anxiety is considered to be an abstract thing like a simple transitory feeling. Nevertheless, anxiety denotes a state, and so it (of some of it features) can be studied as a material object. Scientists have managed to create an instrument that is able to measure anxiety. It is known as CSAI-2 (the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory). It is a key element in a methods selection of the study. For the work, 45 participants of swimming championship were chosen. These are people of the age 13-15 years old; 26 female and 19 male. On the one hand, CSAI-2 was used to measure anxiety (arterial pressure, heart rate, plasma t-PA etc.). On the other hand, there was a psychological observation of the athletes. Two periods conclude the study – measurements a week before the competition and a week after it. This is done for the purpose of achieving the most precise results.

The results of the study show that there is a difference between anxiety that is indicated on psychological and physiological levels. This collective analysis emphasizes the discrepancy between psychological and physiological features of anxiety. Only a few exceptions contradict this statement (a small positive association was found between the indexes of heart rate and cognitive measurement). The findings prove that anxiety is a multidimensional state that requires scientists from different spheres to work together on it.

The strength of the study is in it potential. The topic has to be more developed in order for people to be able to control the state of anxiety.  The study has also faced a few limitations. For example, scientists have also worked on discovering the matter of prediction of the results of competitions.  The methods were ineffective, and the result is poor, and it states that there is no link between the state of anxiety and a possibility to predict future. Another week point in the study is it subjectivity. People cope with anxiety by doing many things. Swimmers have personal ideas about somatic anxiety and arousal. Arousal and anxiety capture different states which should not be taken as one. That is why personal features have to be considered. Anxiety is a matter yet to be discovered. Though, studies show that this state can be controlled. It all depends on a person.


  1. Loupos, D., Fotini M., Barkoukis, V., Tsorbatzoudis, H. (2008). Psychological and Physiological Changes of Anxiety Prior a Swimming Competition. The Open Sports Medicine Journal, 2, 41-46

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