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J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2018 Dec 31;22(4):69-74. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2018.0032.

Comparative analysis of the correlation between anxiety, salivary alpha amylase, cortisol levels, and athletes' performance in archery competitions.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study aimed to analyze the correlation between anxiety, salivary alpha amylase (sAA), and salivary cortisol (sC) changes in athletes showing a high or low level performance in an actual archery competition.

METHODS:

The participants were female university athletes who participated in the individual 50 m archery competition at the 21st Korean National Archery Team Trials, in July 2018. Based on their game record in the competition, 9 athletes were allocated to the high-performance group (HPG) and another 9 to the low-performance group (LPG). Anxiety caused by the competition was rated on a 1-10 point Likert scale at 30 min before competition (pre-30), 3 min before competition (pre-3), and 30 min after competition (post-30). This assessment method directly measured their cognitive anxiety. Saliva samples were collected in a tube by having the athletes chew on an absorber swab. For data analysis, two-way ANOVA with repeated measures was performed and Pearson's correlation method was applied to correlate the variables.

RESULTS:

In the actual competition, significant difference between the game records of the HPG (mean score 339.5±4.1) and the LPG (mean score 323.3±3.4) was observed. Competitive anxiety showed a significant decrease in the HPG compared to the LPG. Due to the competition, sAA and sC were significantly decreased in the HPG compared to the LPG. Analysis of correlations between competition scores, anxiety, sAA, and sC, revealed that lower anxiety was associated with higher scores in the HPG. Pre-3 anxiety positively correlated with pre-3 sAA and sC. In the LPG, lower scores were associated with persistent anxiety until the completion of the competition. Positive correlations were observed for pre-3 anxiety with post-30 sC, pre-3 sAA with post-30 sAA and sC, and pre-3 cortisol with post-30 sAA.

CONCLUSION:

Increased anxiety in the actual archery competition was associated with significant increase in sAA and sC. Elevated sAA and sC from prior-competition to post-competition stage were associated with reduced performance. Significant correlations between the measured variables (game records, anxiety, sAA, and sC) were associated with worse performance.

KEYWORDS:

anxiety

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