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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2013 June;53(3):274-82

language: English

Insecure attachment and anxiety in student athletes

Han D. H. 1, Kim S. M. 1, Zaichkowsky L. 2

1 Department of Psychiatry, Chung‑Ang University Medical School , Seoul, South Korea;
2 Department of Education Graduate Medical Science and Psychiatry Boston University, Boston, MA, USA


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Aim: The main purpose of our research was to examine attachment type and competition anxiety in high school student athletes and general high school students.
Methods: We recruited 465 student athletes and 543 general students to participate in our study. The Revised Korean version of the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale (K-ECRS) and the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) were given to all students.
Results: In χ2 tests, athletes showed attachment types in the following order of prevalence: fearful, dismissive, and preoccupied, compared to the fearful, preoccupied, and dismissive order observed in general students. In parametric, independent t-tests, athletes reported significantly higher cognitive anxiety scores, relative to general students. Further, athletes with insecure attachment compared to those with secure attachment reported higher cognitive anxiety scores and self-confidence scores. In both the athletes with insecure attachment and general students with insecure attachment groups, the K-ECRS anxiety subscale was significantly correlated with CSAI-2 total score. In post hoc analysis in the athletes with insecure attachment group, the K-ECRS anxiety subscale was also significantly correlated with the CSAI-2 cognitive anxiety subscale.
Conclusion: These results suggest that anxious athletes with an insecure attachment style tend to exaggerate threats from both external and internal sources, which negatively affect their performances.

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hduk@yahoo.com; sport@bu.edu