Publication Date

5-2021

Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

12-15-2020

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Science in Kinesiology

Department

Kinesiology

Major Advisor

Eric Martin, Ph.D.

Advisor

Scott Moorcroft, Ph.D.

Advisor

Elizabeth Brookhouse, M.S.

Abstract

Introduction: Anxiety affects nearly 20% of the United States population and can have a significant impact on athletic performance. However, athletes can mitigate the effects of performance anxiety through the use of mental skills and mindfulness training. Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine if a mental training and mindfulness intervention could reduce anxiety and enhance performance in distance runners. Hypothesis: The hypothesis of the study was that athletes would experience less anxiety, increased levels of mindfulness, and improved performance following a four-workshop intervention. Methods: Distance runners engaged in a mental skills and mindfulness training program where we measured pre, during and post-anxiety levels. Anxiety was measured on the Competitive State Anxiety Scale-2 (CSAI-2) with modifications to the scale to measure intensity of cognitive and somatic anxiety, and self-confidence, and mindfulness was measured with the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS). In addition, running performance and effort was measured pre, during and post intervention. Analysis: Means and standard deviations were calculated to investigate variable-level differences. In addition, to investigate participant-level effects, we created individual athlete narratives. Results: Overall, scores for cognitive and somatic anxiety for all three athletes were below the midpoint of the scale indicating that the athletes in general had low levels of both types of anxiety. Mindfulness scores stayed relatively consistent during the program. Discussion: Changes in anxiety varied depending on individual athletes while changes in mindfulness were minor for all participants. These relatively small changes highlight that duration of the intervention may play a role in how effective an MST and Mindfulness program may be for athletes and future studies should aim to extend the duration of the intervention for both MST and Mindfulness past 4-weeks.

Share

COinS