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Aggression and anxiety of Brazilian jujitsu athletes

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  • Save International Journal of Applied Psychology 2015, 5(1): 8-12 DOI: 10.5923/j.ijap.20150501.02 Aggression and Anxiety in Brazilian Jujitsu Athletes Daniel Bartholomeu1,*, José Maria Montiel1, Afonso Antonio Machado2, Fillippi Soto Mattos1, Geraldo Antonio Fiamenghi-Jr1 1Postgraduate Department of Educational Psychology, UNIFIEO, Osasco, Brazil 2Department of Physical Education, UNESP, Rio Claro, Brazil Abstract Aggression may be understood as a behavioral expression aimed to cause injury or damage to others. Anxiety is generated when stimuli are interpreted as threatening, inducing a state of activation by the autonomic system, and tension. This study aimed to investigate the associations between measures of trait and state anxiety and aggression in Jujitsu athletes. 23 athletes aged 14 to 58 years, male and female participated in the study, being assessed by the Competition Aggression Scale, STAI and CSAI. Results showed that less anxious fighters who suffered more pressure from their parents tended to physically attack their opponents. It also suggests that athletes that are more anxious tend to manipulate situations in their own favor. Keywords Psychological Assessment, Sport Psychology, Aggression, Jujitsu 1. Introduction Jujitsu as a fight or martial art was created in India, 2500 years ago, with the need of Buddhist monks to defend themselves during long journeys. It was developed as a technique based in body balance, avoiding use of strength, as the monks were normally skinny, thus the name ‘gentle art’. Jujitsu started to be played in Brazil in 1915 with a Japanese immigrant Mitsuo Esai Maeda and the technique changed so much that today there is a branch called Brazilian Jujitsu [1]. Although not normally being a violent sport, Jujitsu might show some aggressive moments; in a competition, for example, opponents’ way of talking, behaving, or even looking at each other during warming, or after the fight may characterize aggression, although some of those behaviors are considered normal, being tolerated and even applauded. Each sport specifies which conducts are accepted [2, 3]. Therefore, a definition of aggression can be any way of behavior aiming to cause damage or injury towards others, including in that category physical aggression as well as verbal or nonverbal intimidation [4, 5]. When fighting sports such as boxing, Jujitsu, judo, or karate, cause damage, it is considered accidental, making it hard to assess that component. During competitions, referees are responsible for judging intentionality, introducing a bias in measure, as well as another criteria, rule breaking [6, 7]. Competition and high levels of aggression may also lead * Corresponding author: (Daniel Bartholomeu) Published online at Copyright © 2015 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved to lesions in the urge to achieve victory. Lesions are amplified in athletes with higher levels of anxiety, and that means a longer period to return to training [8]. Studies on the relation between anxiety and aggression in sport have shown interesting results, such as Marsee, Weems and Taylor [9], revealing that cognitive errors in anxiety (cognitive anxiety) mediate connections between anxiety and relational aggression (aiming to cause emotional damages in indirect situations, such as gossips). In addition, there were gender differences in those connections. Tomé and Valentini [10] compared anxiety and aggression in athletes and non-athletes and identified those variables more frequently in athletes. Besides, the study by Bidutte et al [11] showed that the older the athletes, the more aggressive behaviors are depicted. Specifically concerning anxiety, a distinction between state and trait anxiety must be made. High levels of anxiety are shortly experienced, but are transient and context dependant in state anxiety [12]. On the other hand, trait anxiety refers to relatively stable individual tendencies that are associated to Personality, meaning that people with high scores in trait anxiety respond to the majority of situations, as well as regulate their perceptions, in a more threatening way, compared to other individuals. Their ansiogenic answers tend to be more intense and longer [13]. However, those aspects only are not enough to have a full comprehension of anxiety. An adequate model should be able to explain the nature of cognitive processes that mediate the appraisal of threatening situations and their consequences, introducing another component to define anxiety, that is, its cognitive and somatic aspects [13]. Assessing stimuli as threatening induces an activation state in autonomic system, as well as tension and International Journal of Applied Psychology 2015, 5(1): 8-12 9 expectation feelings that trigger defense processes to reduce it. In that context, cognitive anxiety is categorized by a situation’s negative assessments, worries and aversive mental imagination, while somatic anxiety reflects a specific physiological excitation, high heart rate, panting and increasing of muscle tension [14-16]. Although both kinds are related, they affect people’s performance in different ways [12] and their effects vary due to the sort of task; intellectual tasks are related to lowering performance, whereas somatic anxiety affects mostly motor tasks [15]. Therefore, a definition of anxiety related to sports anxiety could be suggested, as a tendency to respond somatic or cognitively to competitive situations where athletic performance is assessed. Although the extensive number of threatening sources, those related to sports could be failure possibilities, or being rejected by significant people in terms of excellence standards [12]. Based on the lack of studies with Jujitsu players, this research investigated the associations of state and trait anxiety measures with aggression in athletes. 2. Methods Participants 23 athletes, aged 14 to 58 years (M=25; SD=10.22), mostly male (91.3%), schooling varying from primary (21.7%) to postgraduate (4.3%) participated on this study. From the total, 69.6% worked fulltime and played Jujitsu, having no exclusive dedication to sport and 34.8% were training since 2006; 69.6% trained three times a week and 65.2% trained two hours daily; 56.5% had already been in competitions and 65.2% had experienced injuries due to the sport. Athletes reported familiar support on Jujitsu practice (95.7%), although not frequently watching competitions (95.7%), and not expecting positive results (60.9%). However, they are praised for their results (56.5%). Instruments and Procedures 1. Aggression Scale in Competitions [17] It consists on 26 items describing aggressive behaviors in competition, and athletes must mark their frequency, in a three-point scale (always, sometimes, never), that received the values 2, 1, and 0, respectively. The instrument presented validity evidence in internal structure by items analysis in Rasch model. 2. STAI (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: Trait) [13, 18] This inventory was developed in two different forms, to assess trait and state anxiety. This study used the trait anxiety version, with 20 items, that the participant has to complete concerning his/her anxiety symptoms, with 1 (almost never), 2 (sometimes), 3 (frequently), and 4 (almost always). Points are added during correction and total score may vary from 20 to 80. 3. CSAI (Competitive State Anxiety Inventory) [19, [20] It presents 27 items describing physical and cognitive anxiety, indicating concern in self-confidence and competition situations. Behaviors are assessed in a 4-point scale, varying from nothing (1), something (2), moderate (3) and very much (4), indicating intensity of symptoms related by the participant. Instruments were collectively completed with the supervision of a psychologist, taking approximately 10 minutes. The University’s Ethics Committee approved the study, protocol number 424/2010. 3. Results and Discussion Results of data descriptive analysis are shown in Table 1. CSAI’s results indicated that mean scores of players in each of the dimensions were a little lower than the scales, indicating a general low competition anxiety, physically and cognitively, as well as self-confidence. Aggression results showed scores above the means in Intimidation and Physical Aggression dimensions, indicating that players tended to manifest a high frequency of those behaviors. Factor 3, Manipulation, scored in the means. Finally, STAI data shown that mean scores in both factors were lower than the means, suggesting low trait anxiety in players. In order to investigate associations between aggression subscales and anxiety measurements, a Spearman correlation test, as the number of participants was small, and some measures were not normal, with high kurtosis. Results are shown in Table 2. Results showed positive and significant associations in Intimidation and General Aggression factors with negative anxiety STAI negative factor. That tendency indicates that players who used more behaviors aimed to constrain and intimidate opponents showed more trait anxiety. Moderate coefficients suggest a common degree of variance between the instruments (25% for STAI). General Aggression dimension was associated with CSAI’s cognitive anxiety factor, suggesting that a rise in aggression is related to a higher concern in competitive situations. Taking in account the sample’s age dissimilarity, the same correlational analysis was conducted using age control (partial correlation). Results showed same correlated variables, but with higher coefficients (physical aggression X cognitive CSAI, r=0.50; general aggression X cognitive CSAI, r=0.51; intimidation X absent anxiety, r=0.71; general aggression X absent anxiety, r=0.54), meaning that although age is related to an important correlational effect, it does not significantly alter the course of associations Concerning parents’ demands for children’s results in competitions, praising them when their results were positive, other correlations were studied, due to a hypothesis of family relations as a variable influencing anxiety and aggression in athletes. Results are shown in Table 3. It can be observed that all aggression measures were positive and significantly correlated to negative anxiety (present) factor in the non-praised by parents’ group, indicating that a rise in aggression in this group correspond 10 Daniel Bartholomeu et al.: Aggression and Anxiety in Brazilian Jujitsu Athletes to a rise in anxiety. In the parents’ praising group, only Intimidation was positive and significantly associated with moderate anxiety. Maybe a way of players compensating anxiety are intimidating and constraining behaviors, increasing preoccupation in competitions. However, results are not sufficient to support those assertions, and a more rigorous statistical model (such as structural equation modelling, for example), as well as a larger sample would be useful to allow more interpretations. Another investigation was related to parents’ demanding or not positive results in competitions, as those issues were not discussed in Marsee et al [9] study. Results are shown in Table 4. Table 1. Descriptive analysis of instruments Absent Anxiety Present Anxiety Intimidation Physical Aggression Manipulation CSAI (Physical) CSAI (Cognitive) CSAI (Self-confidence) Means Median Mode Standard Deviation Minimum Maximum Skewness Standard Error Skewness Kurtosis Standard Error Kurtosis 16.86 16.00 22.00 11.00 11.00 10.00(a) 4.12 2.828 11.00 25.00 0.350 6.00 17.00 0.16 0.491 0.50 -1.15 0.02 0.95 0.97 14.09 15.00 16.00 2.72 10.00 19.00 0.22 0.50 -1.03 0.97 15.52 14.00 12.00 4.12 12.00 28.00 1.76 0.50 3.26 0.97 4.38 11.59 15.95 4.00 12.00 16.00 4.00 6.00 7.00(a) 0.59 4.41 6.93 4.00 6.00 7.00 6.00 19.00 28.00 1.32 0.06 0.20 0.50 0.49 0.51 0.99 -1.55 -1.29 0.97 0.95 0.99 8.23 8.00 7.00 1.80 5.00 11.00 0.06 0.49 -1.04 0.95 Table 2. Spearman correlation and significance levels for anxiety and aggression CSAI (Physical) CSAI (Cognitive) CSAI (Self-confidence) Anxiety Absent Anxiety Present Intimidation rs 0.03 0.36 0.19 0.62** 0.09 Physical Aggression rs 0.15 0.44* 0.12 0.38 0.07 Manipulation rs 0.18 0.05 0.12 0.17 0.02 General Aggression rs 0.08 0.46* 0.16 0.54* 0.14 *Significant at level 0.05 **Significant at level 0.01 Table 3. Spearman correlation and significance levels for anxiety and aggression related to parents’ incentives Patents don’t praise activity Physical CSAI Cognitive CSAI Self-confidence CSAI Absent Anxiety Present Anxiety Intimidation rs -0.07 0.37 0.07 0.73(*) 0.20 Physical Aggression rs 0.10 0.59 -0.01 0.82(**) 0.18 Manipulation rs 0.00 0.00 0.09 0.82(**) 0.05 General Aggression rs 0.03 0.49 0.01 0.74(*) 0.11 Patents praise activity Physical CSAI Cognitive CSAI Self-confidence CSAI Absent Anxiety Present Anxiety Intimidation rs 0.03 0.16 0.28 0.65(*) 0.09 Physical Aggression rs 0.04 0.10 0.55 0.21 0.08 Manipulation rs 0.36 -0.26 -0.10 -0.59 0.08 General Aggression rs 0.08 0.25 0.33 0.56 0.23 *significant at level 0.05 ** significant at level 0.01 International Journal of Applied Psychology 2015, 5(1): 8-12 11 Table 4. Spearman correlation and significance levels for anxiety and aggression related to parents’ demands for results Patents don’t demand results Physical CSAI Cognitive CSAI Self-confidence CSAI Absent Anxiety Present Anxiety Intimidation rs 0.13 0.26 -0.02 0.65(*) 0.00 Physical Aggression rs 0.29 0.61(*) 0.08 0.60(*) -0.25 Manipulation rs 0.12 0.00 0.25 0.66(*) 0.15 General Aggression 0.18 0.39 0.05 0.69(**) -0.11 Patents demand results Physical CSAI Cognitive CSAI Self-confidence CSAI Absent Anxiety Present Anxiety Intimidation rs -0.26 0.00 0.75 0.44 0.65 Physical Aggression rs -0.01 0.43 0.64 0.26 0.98(**) Manipulation rs 0.21 -0.41 -0.42 -0.82(*) 0.44 General Aggression rs -0.02 0.54 0.55 0.54 0.82 *significant at level 0.05 ** significant at level 0.01 All aggression measures in the non-demanding parents’ group are associated with absent anxiety, and coefficients are moderate. CSAI’s cognitive anxiety factor is associated with physical aggression, suggesting that the more the athletes’ behaviors aim to cause some sort of physical or material damages to opponents the more anxiety thoughts and exaggerated worries with competition they have. Thus, athletes that are more anxious tend to be more physically aggressive towards their opponents, as well as being more irritable, which support Marsee et al [9] that found cognitive errors as mediators in relations between anxiety and tension. Actually, cognitive component of anxiety seems to exert an important role in association of both variables, far beyond the biological aspect investigated by Neumann, Veenema e Beiderbeck [21]. That aspect needs more investigations in other sports as well. Considering the parents’ demanding group, high, negative and significant associations were observed between Manipulation and STAI’s negative factor, as well as positive and significant ones between its positive factor and physical aggressive behaviors. Those data indicate that less anxious players in competitions and the ones that parents demand more results tend to be more physically aggressive and more irritable. Moreover, they suggest that, in that group, more anxious athletes (negative anxiety) tend to present more manipulation, that is, to mislead and manipulate situations in own favour, harming the opponents, without being noticed. This demand apparently creates behaviors that are not suitable for competitions, as those athletes, when anxious, are inclined to act in sneaky ways, possibly to please their parents. In the same way, even when not anxious, they were likely to physically assault the opponents. This are intriguing data, that might be further investigated with larges samples. It is important to note that the small number of participants and great variability of the sample’s age must be taken in account when interpreting results, and those are the most significant limitations of this study. In fact, associations among variables may suffer changes due to maturity and experience in sport, as aggression and anxiety levels may vary with experience. 4. Conclusions The lack of studies with Jujitsu players motivated this research, as this sport is generally associated with aggressive and violent practices. This research did not focus on aggression intensity in players, but aimed to investigate aspects that might be associated with this kind of behaviors. Using STAI and CSAI is justified as both assess distinct aspects of anxiety, the first focused in positive and negative issues, and the second in cognitive and somatic dimensions of anxiety, as well as self-confidence. Finally, the lack of research with any sort of players made it difficult to discuss results, limiting it to hypotheses and suggestions of further studies. REFERENCES [1] Rufino, L. G. B., Darido, S. C., 2010, O Jujitsu brasileiro na visão dos não praticantes, Pesq. em Ed. Física, 9(2), 181-189. [2] G. Russell, The Social Psychology of Sport, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1993. [3] Cooke, A., Kavussanu, M., Mcintyre, D., Ring, C, 2013, The effects of individual and team competitions on performance, emotions, and effort, J. Sport Exerc Psychology, 35(2) 132-143. [4] K. Baron, Human Aggression, New York: Plenum, 1977. [5] Fields, S. K., Collins, C. L., Comstock, R. D., 2010, Violence in youth sports: Hazing, brawling and foul play, Br J Sports Med., 44(1) 32-37. 12 Daniel Bartholomeu et al.: Aggression and Anxiety in Brazilian Jujitsu Athletes [6] Russell, G., and Russell, A., 1984, Sports penalties: An alternative means of measuring aggression, Sport Behavior and Personality, 12, 69-74. 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