Wally Bixby, associate professor of exercise science, had his paper, "A dimensional investigation of the state anxiety inventory in an exercise setting: Cognitive vs. somatic," accepted for publication in the Journal of Sport Behavior. The article will appear in Volume 34(4) in 2011 and was co-authored by Brad Hatfield from the University of Maryland.
This investigation examined the two-dimensional nature of the State Anxiety Inventory (SAI) in an exercise setting. SAI measures were obtained from 32 participants (20 female) before, during, and following 30 min of continuous exercise at low- (75% ventilatory threshold) and high-intensities (ventilatory threshold) to determine the respective temporal courses of anxiety response. The typical pattern of anxiety response was found, with anxiety increasing during higher intensity exercise and remaining unchanged during lower intensity. Following both low- and high-intensity exercise, anxiety decreased below baseline. An examination of the two factors (cognitive and somatic) which make up the SAI revealed a divergent response pattern. The cognitive factor revealed little to no change during the exercise but did show a reduction following the exercise. The somatic factor increased during the exercise session and the increase was higher for the higher intensity exercise. Following exercise, the somatic factor decreased below baseline levels. Thus, a cognitive anxiety reduction did occur, which supports the anxiolytic effects of acute aerobic exercise. However, employment of the SAI as an undifferentiated measure of anxiety in this investigation led to a misrepresentation of the anxiety response, as the ergogenic demands of exercise caused elevation in the somatic factor without corresponding changes in the cognitive factor.