Athletic Insight - The Online Journal of Sport Psychology

Can Anger and Tension be Helpful?
Emotions Associated with Optimal Performance

Andrew M. Lane, Tracey J. Devonport, and Chris J. Beedie
University of Wolverhampton, UK

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ABSTRACT

Evidence suggests athletes will try to regulate pre-competition emotions to a state that helps goal pursuit (Hanin, 2003) andsupposedly unpleasant emotions such as anger and tension have been found to associate with successful performance. The present study focused on emotional states associated with optimal performance. Male athletes (N = 222) were asked to recall an optimal sport performance and then completed the Brunel Mood Scale (Terry, Lane, & Fogarty, 2003) to assess pre-competition emotion. Emotion data were dichotomized into either a depression group (that is whether participants reported a score of 1 or more for either confusion or depression on the BRUMS) or no-symptoms of depression group (a score of zero for confusion and depression, see Lane & Terry, 2000).Results indicated participants in the depression group reported high scores of anger and tension and lower scores of pleasant emotions. Among such participants, happiness inversely related to tension. By contrast, among the no symptoms of unpleasant emotions group, participants reported higher scores of calmness, happiness, and vigor along with lower scores of anger and tension. Among such participants, happiness correlated positively with anger and tension, a finding. Findings lend support to the notion that

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ISSN 1536-0431