Title

A Cognitive-Behavioral Program to Improve Bowling Performance

Date of Award

1981

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

John D. Alcorn

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Purpose of the Study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a cognitive-behavioral treatment program on the performance of bowlers who demonstrated high competition anxiety. Specifically, answers were sought to the following questions: (1) Would a cognitive-behavioral program result in significantly improved performance among experienced league bowlers? (2) Would a cognitive-behavioral program constitute a viable treatment approach for reducing anxiety among experienced league bowlers? Procedure. The Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT) was administered to approximately 300 adult league bowlers. Experienced bowlers who scored above the appropriate male or female mean and who agreed to participate were segregated by sex and then randomly assigned to either the treatment or no-treatment control group. Subjects completed the Affect Adjective Check List (AACL) while bowling. A record of bowling scores was kept on all 25 subjects who completed the study. This study utilized a group by trials design. The three trials were pretreatment, posttreatment, and follow up. Subjects in the treatment group received a modified form of systematic desentization to decrease competition anxiety combined with covert modeling and rehearsal to improve concentration. There were seven group sessions lasting approximately one hour each over a seven week period. Subjects in the control group were told the treatment group was full and continued to bowl as usual. Following treatment, the SCAT and AACL were administered again. After a three week waiting period, the tests were administered a third time. Bowling scores were continuously collected. Findings. (1) The hypothesis that group of bowlers receiving a cognitive-behavioral training program would have significantly higher bowling scores at t(,2) and t(,3) than a control group which received no training was supported (p < .05) at t(,2). At t(,3) there was a significant group X sex interaction (p < .01). The program resulted in a significant improvement for men but not for women at t(,3). (2) The hypothesis that a cognitive-behavioral training program would have significantly less variability (range) in bowling scores at t(,2) and t(,3) than a control group which received no training was not supported. (3) The hypothesis that a group of bowlers receiving a cognitive-behavioral training program would have significantly lower competitive trait anxiety scores at t(,2) and t(,3) than a control group which received no training was not supported. (4) The hypothesis that a group of bowlers receiving a cognitive-behavioral training program would have significantly lower competitive state anxiety scores at t(,2) and t(,3) than a control group which received no training was supported (p < .05). Conclusions. (1) Experienced bowlers who demonstrate high competition anxiety appear to bowl significantly better after receiving a cognitive-behavioral training program. (2) The cognitive-behavioral program appears to be a viable treatment approach for reducing anxiety among experienced bowlers. (3) Women bowlers fail to retain the benefits of the program as well as men.