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3.2 What causes anxiety?

Exercise: Your Experience // Duration: 5 mins

This exercise is anonymous, which means you can bring your own experience, if you want, or think about the experiences of others.  When you click the image, you will only need to answer the one question, then navigate your way back to this page to continue the module. There is space for you to leave more that one idea, so have a think about this question:

Exercise: Reading the Research // Duration: 5 mins

State Anxiety & Climbing

Did you recognise any of the aspects of anxiety that relate to your situation and experience?  We are going to focus now on State Anxiety – the situation specific aspect. Some of the theory relates to competing, however, where the word ‘competition’ is mentioned, try substituting ‘climbing’ instead to see if the theory matches up with your experience.  We’ve found that many of the theories we are presenting here have relevance to us, in our personal climbing experience, which is why we’re bringing them to you.

Theory – Competitive State Anxiety

We have a wealth of research about the exact things you’ve discussed.  Below, I’ve included a climbing-specific description/ explanation in brackets to help clarify how the general theories of anxiety might relate to us, as climbers. Endler is the person who created the basis for the theories below.  Then others came along and supplemented the list.

Endler (1983)

  • Performance Failure (I’m going to fall off)
  • Fear of Negative Social Evaluation (other people will think I’m not a good climber)
  • Fear of Physical Harm (I’m going to hurt myself)
  • Situation Ambiguity (I don’t know this climbing centre/ crag)
  • Disruption of a Well-learned Routine (My routine won’t be the same)

Thuot, Kavouras & Kenefick (1998)

  • Perceived skill level of opponent (The other climbers will be much better than me)

Hammereister & Burton (2001)

  • Perceived level of control (I have no control over this climbing situation)
  • Perceived level of coping resources (I don’t have what I need to be able to deal with this situation)

Exercise: Review Comments // Duration: 5 mins

Let’s find out what you and others feel might cause anxiety prior to climbing.

Click here to see the results!

Do these answers surprise you?  How do they relate to the theory? How might this change your thinking about anxiety? If you want to discuss these ideas, do so in the comments field.

Exercise: Why? // Duration: 5 mins

Before we go any further, it would be useful to know this: Why are we discussing the things that cause anxiety? In what ways could these things be important?  Leave your comments, then click next.